South Africa: Cape Town Man Struggles to Get Tested for COVID-19 At Private Hospital

South Africa's President Cyril Ramphosa announcing "urgent and drastic measures" to combat Coronavirus.

A Western Cape man has told News24 that his attempts to get tested for Covid-19 on Thursday proved futile.

Cameron Jansen, 26, says he went to the Melomed Mitchells Plain Hospital to get tested as a precautionary measure, after being in contact with a colleague from India. It is believed that the colleague had been sick for two weeks, but that no doctor in the area would see him for consultation, fearing that he might have the virus.

Jansen told News24 that his colleague, who has since returned home, got screened at two different airports on his journey back.

"My colleague got screened at two different airports as he was travelling back home and he was found to be without the virus," Jansen said.

Sent back and forth

Jansen updated his Facebook status on Thursday, saying that before going to the hospital he had felt a bit sick. After his CEO advised him to get checked out, he went to Melomed Mitchells Plain Private Hospital, where he says he was sent back and forth without anyone seeing him.

"I went to Melomed Mitchell's Plain and no doctor would see me. I was told to get a referral letter from my GP. Once I got back to Melomed Mitchells Plain, I was informed that my GP has to complete this form from the Department of Health," he said in his Facebook status.

He said the hospital provided him with a hotline number which he called three times, but still got no assistance.

Western Cape Department of Health deputy director of communications Mark van der Heever told News24 that the hotline number was currently under pressure from people calling in with fears of having contracted the virus. Van der Heever added that there was a standard procedure across the board, whether a patient went to a private or public hospital.

"The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) provided a hotline for patients to call first before heading to health facilities. This is to help maintain the spread of the virus. Once you call the number, explain your symptoms and where you have travelled, or with whom you have had contact," Van der Heever said.

Private hospital

He said that Melomed was a private hospital and the institution had different processes in place for such cases, but added that should a patient visit a government or public facility on suspicion that they have the virus, certain steps should be taken by the facility.

"If you are unable to make a call, go to your local facility. Before you enter the facility, alert staff that you are concerned you have Covid-19. Expect to be asked to put on a face mask. You will be asked to wait separately from other patients until a health worker can help you," Van der Heever said.

Jansen said that Melomed's Mitchells Plain hospital had since called him to apologise for the inconvenience caused and, although he was feeling better now, he is still scheduled to go back to the hospital on Sunday for a check-up.

Melomed Mitchells Plain Private Hospital said management would only be able to comment on the matter on Monday.

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Source: News24

Top Headlines: South Africa

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