‘Rather safe than sorry’: Joburgers line up at Covid-19 testing sites

2020-04-07 22:20

When Leo Donald’s two children started running a fever yesterday, his first thought was “is this Covid-19”.

He took them to one of the City of Joburg’s new testing sites – Rex Clinic in Roodepoort.

The 49-year-old father of four told City Press that he found out about the testing site through social media, and was relieved that there was one near his house.

“My daughter (11) and son (14) picked up a fever on Monday and they were very restless overnight,” a worried Donald told City Press.

“I decided to come get them and myself tested just to make sure that they do not have the coronavirus especially with the high death rates ... It is better to be safe than sorry.”

Having gone through the screening process and waiting to be tested, Donald (49) said that the former was a fairly easy and quick process.”

My daughter’s temperature was 37 degrees and my son’s was 36.4 degrees
Leo Donald

“They had a device that they used to check our temperatures,” he said. “But before they check our temperatures, they sanitise our hands. My daughter’s temperature was 37 degrees and my son’s was 36.4 degrees.”

The City of Johannesburg now has 21 Covid-19 coronavirus testing sites and more are to be rolled out as it aims to turn all its clinics into testing sites.

City mayor Geoff Makhubo was at the Rex Clinic, checking on the testing sites. Makhubo, who was accompanied by MMC for health and Social Development Eunice Mgcina, said he was happy about the clinic’s “state of readiness for Covid-19 testing”.

“We are happy with what we saw today,” he said.

“We wanted to come motivate and thank the staff for being frontline staff and for the sterling work that they are doing in light of this pandemic and crisis that we are facing.

“We also wanted to see the readiness of the testing sites because we think that there is going to be an increase in the number of people wanting to get tested for the virus, as information about it spreads and as people become more aware of the need to test.”

Michelle Williams’ temperature is screened before she tests for Covid-19 at the Rex Clinic in Rooderpoort. Picture: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

Having adhered to the 21-day lockdown rules and regulations in the 11 days, Donald said the outcome of his and his children’s results would determine whether he would bring his wife and two other children for testing.

“We have been under lockdown and we are adhering to the rules and regulations that have been set out during this time but I am quite worried about my children,” he said.

Another resident, Michelle Williams, told City Press that she was unware that the clinic, which she said was three houses away from her house, was a testing site.

“I have had a sore throat for about three days now so I decided to come to the clinic for that. I live about three houses away, but I did not know that this clinic was now a testing site as well, “she told City Press.

“I was told that my temperature was normal because the machine they used to check it showed a smiley face. But I decided to get tested either way, because I want to go through the process and see what they do.”

We want to turn the entire set of our 79 clinics into testing sites in Johannesburg, so that people have access to testing facilities
City of Johannesurg mayor Geoff Makhubo

Asked about how citizens would be made aware of the testing stations, the mayor said that steps had been taken.

“We are confident that people will be aware of where the testing sites are as we have shared this information with various councillors as well as political parties,” he said.

Makhubo added: “We only have 14 sites now in Johannesburg that are city-owned and seven that are provincial-owned. Now we want to turn the entire set of our 79 clinics into testing sites in Johannesburg, so that people have access to testing facilities.”

Makhubo highlighted the staff’s concern around “not having enough protective gear”.

“The nurses are trained and are happy to serve,” Makhubo said.

“They did however raise their concerns around protective gear as they said they only have two weeks’ worth of supply.”

“But the chief operations officer and the city manager have assured me that they have ordered the necessary gear which will be delivered to our facilities.”

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May 31 2020