Botswana: Jwaneng to Conduct Covid-19 Testing At Hotspots

Jwaneng — Jwaneng Deputy District Commissioner, Mr Lesang Kgomoetsile has said COVID-19 testing will be conducted at some public places considered to be hotspots, as cases surge, in the tiny mining town.

Speaking during a briefing between the town's COVID-19 executive committee and public health specialist on August 31, Mr Kgomoetsile indicated that such public places included among others, Jwaneng police station, Dithuso House as well as Jwaneng Civic Centre.

He said that such places were considered COVID-19 hotspots because they were visited by members of the public in large numbers on a daily basis, leaving workers stationed there at risk of infection.

Mr Kgomoetsile also said that the high number of cases in Jwaneng only came to light following the Debswana Jwaneng Mine's decision to test all its employees after one of them showed signs of COVID-19.

He said this then brought suspicions that the virus had all along been present in Jwaneng, and that as more cases emerged, it then led to massive contact tracing which he said was now straining available resources.

"The more cases discovered meant the wider the tracing network as more households had to be visited, so this poses a challenges of shortage of equipment, transport and food," he said.

Mr Kgomoetsile also indicated that the town had to seek more space to accommodate close contacts awaiting results, as the existing two centres being Ditsweletse Clinic and the Debswana accommodation facility known as C-Mess were already overwhelmed.

He also said that the two centres were only used as quarantine centres and not as isolation as they did not meet the requirements of the latter, such as availability of full time security and nurses.

He indicated that the situation had forced a decision to have those that tested positive, but were asymptomatic self-isolate at home provided the environment allowed.

"We however, have a challenge as it's not practical in some cases such as when one shares a house or stays with family," he said.

He also indicated that Kgalagadi had identified a few places as possible isolation centres, among them Jwaneng Technical College, which can accommodate 230 patients, Mabutsane porta cabins that take 24, Matsha Learning Centre in Kang that can accommodate 64 as well as Kang Brigade that can take in 72 people.

Mr Kgomoetsile also said there was need to find a way to sensitise the community about the prevalence of the virus in town.

For his part, public health specialist and Mabutsane District Heath Management Team (DHMT) head, Dr Christopher Chembe indicated that even though members of the community might be eager to know the number of confirmed cases in town the team was hamstrung as that prerogative only lied with the National Task Force Team.

"The taskforce team is the one that has the prerogative of when to declare the number of cases in a locality, or whether to declare a lockdown in a certain zone or area. We can only go as far as share statistics with them through our regional team in Kanye," he said.

Dr Chembe however, indicated that with the assistance of the Debswana Jwaneng mine, they had put in place logistics to identify and contain cases, and that contact tracing mechanisms were in place, such as trained contact tracers.

He also implored contacts not to hide any vital information when interviewed by members of the tracing team.

"Contacts sometimes get cagey with information of whom they have been in contact with, especially in cases where one had visited what we call a 'small house', but we would like to appeal to them not to fear to disclose as the information they give us is always treated as highly confidential," he said.

Source : BOPA

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