North West health will impose strict self-quarantine regulations

Following a number of violations of isolation rules by persons who tested positive for Covid-19 in the North West, the North West Department of Health announced this week that self-isolation of Covid-19 positive cases in future will have to be considered by the department.

According to Tebogo Lekgethwane, spokesperson for the department, a decision about whether people are allowed to self-quarantine or be placed in mandatory quarantine was made as a result of a number of people in the province who have violated the isolation rules, putting the larger community at risk.

“It has therefore made it necessary to have facility quarantine and isolation mandatory for all eligible persons,” he said.

“Quarantine may therefore take place at home if it is suitable, or at a designated non-clinical facility. Quarantine lasts for 14 days. Self-quarantine at home is allowed as long as the quarantined individual complies with quarantine regulations. Quarantine at a non-clinical facility is recommended for eligible primary contacts who have no symptoms and have to be separated physically in the facility. It is recommended for persons who have been exposed, have no symptoms and have no residence suitable for separation from those not exposed.

“Persons quarantined at designated facilities will be accommodated in separate rooms with required ablution facilities, served with meals in their rooms in order to encourage separation and curb possible transmission. A COVID-19 test will be performed on day 12 of the quarantine. Quarantine will be terminated at the end of 14 days if there are no symptoms.

Self-isolation and self-quarantine may be considered under exceptional circumstances under the following conditions:
• The applicant is confirmed as a primary contact to a person diagnosed as having COVID-19 and is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic
• The patient/contact and family are fully involved in the discussion on the importance of separation, quarantine and isolation
• The patient signs an undertaking that she/he will comply with the conditions of the isolation/quarantine
• The treating facility or medical practitioner is involved in decision-making and signs an undertaking of continued care that will ensure the patient complies fully with the conditions of isolation/quarantine and apply application for continued self-quarantine/isolation to the Director General (DDG) of District Health Services
• The DDG will delegate a team to investigate the individual’s home circumstances to determine suitability for self-quarantine/isolation
• The applicant’s home circumstances are fully conducive for quarantine and isolation of mild clinical cases as defined in the NICD guidelines. This will be verified and confirmed by the team deployed by the District Health Services.
• In the event a person on quarantine is found to have violated the quarantine prescripts and conditions, the individual will be reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and quarantine in a non-clinical facility will become mandatory.

“The Department believes the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that is being implemented is adequate to address all quarantine/isolation issues. However applicants who are denied self-quarantine/isolation may appeal to the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) if dissatisfied with the outcome of the initial application,” he said.