Covid-19 concerns for old age home

Three people at Ria Abel Home For the Aged have tested positive for Covid-19.

A Bothasig resident says she is very concerned for her father-in-law and other residents of an old age home in Brooklyn.

Jessey-Lee Dunning said her father-in-law is a resident at Ria Abel Home for the Aged in Brooklyn.

She said he has been in their care for two years and despite the home going under lockdown due to the pandemic, her father-in-law contracted Covid-19. She said she can’t imagine how anything like this could have happened, especially with the lockdown regulations in place.

“We were informed that he was sick in the second week of June. When they told us, we were worried because he is a double amputee, he is quite elderly and has pre-existing conditions. But we didn’t expect he could have Covid-19. He was taken to Somerset Hospital on Wednesday June 10 and on that Friday, we were informed he tested positive. We tried calling the home immediately but couldn’t reach the manager that weekend and that following Monday,” she said.

Ms Dunning said she felt as though the home was disregarding what happened to her father-in-law in their care. She also didn’t like the lack of transparency shown by the home’s manager.

Basil Fester, chairman of Ria Abel, said the home was in fact under lockdown and families couldn’t visit their loved ones. Residents of the home could only leave the home for medical purposes like seeing their doctor or to be admitted to hospital.

On Tuesday June 16, Mr Fester sent a letter to families explaining the situation at the home.

“For the past three months we have been exercising strict routines and protocols in order to protect all our residents from this extremely dangerous virus.

“Sadly all our efforts were to no avail because on Wednesday morning (June 10) when one of our residents in the frail care centre had his temperature taken by a carer she discovered that his temperature had shot up to 38ºC and that he was also coughing.

Our frail care went into lockdown on Friday June 12 as a precaution when we learned of the resident’s test results. Two other ladies who the gentleman chatted with regularly were placed in separate isolation rooms in frail care but show no signs of illness. To date, the two ladies have tested positive, and are in hospital,” he said.

Mr Fester said they are not sure how Ms Dunning’s father-in-law contracted the virus but all the other residents were confined to their rooms for 14 days.

“As an added precaution for the duration of 14 days we have arranged for 12 of our staff members (all of them carers) to stay at our home and will not be travelling or going home for 14 days. They won’t be making contact with any of our other residents or staff other than those in frail care. With all residents confined to their rooms these staff members all reside in the large sunroom,” he said.

South Africa now has been in lockdown for three months and the number of reported cases has risen tremendously. On March 22, South Africa had 274 cases with 0 deaths. Fast forward to Monday June 22, there are 101 590 cases and 1 991 deaths. The upside is that there are 53 444 recoveries – a recovery rate of 52,6%.

Locally, the numbers have now increased dramatically since the last numbers were released on June 1 (“Troubles double as pandemic surges”, Tabletalk, June 10). In Dunoon, there are 514 cases (up by 296). Parklands also had worrisome numbers with 86 – the latest now show 172 cases. Brooklyn has 99 cases from 43 last time.

The Western Cape is the hardest hit province in the country with at the time of going to print, 51 351 cases, 13 969 of those active and
35 958 recoveries.