Covid-19: Durban old age homes on lockdown

Residents of The Association for the Aged (Tafta) centres who travelled abroad have been placed in quarantine to prevent any potential spread of Covid-19 among elderly people living in its facilities around the country.

None of the affected residents at the centres — all of which have been locked down — have tested positive for the virus after undergoing testing during their self-isolation, which began immediately on their return from abroad. 

Tafta provides accommodation for several thousand elderly people in its 14 residential centres in Durban, and serves about 7 500 more through meals on wheels, wellness programmes and other forms of assistance and support.

Tafta chief executive Femada Shamam said they would remain in quarantine for the recommended period, during which a team of carers would assist them with grocery shopping and other needs while their condition was monitored.

Shamam said visitors would not be allowed into the centres for the duration of the lockdown.

The care teams had been trained on hygiene protocols and were educating the residents about how to reduce the risk of infection. Educational posters had been put up in rooms and hand sanitisers placed at entrances and other high-risk areas, including the frail-care facilities.

“Our elders are aware of the risks involved in daily exposure. Residents are calm and trust the care team at the homes to support them if and when the need arises,”’ Shamam said. “While we are very aware of the wide spread of the virus, we are trying to ensure that elders remain calm and we have supportive measures in place if we are affected.”

Tafta would immediately initiate the National Institute for Communicable Diseases protocols to isolate residents or staff who suffered exposure and ensure treatment and support from the department of health for any infected people.

She said Tafta centres were no longer open to visitors, including family members, in order to protect the residents from the virus. All applications for residence at Tafta homes had been put on hold until further notice, and donations of prepared meals were no longer being accepted.

“During this time, we ask that donations of food please be restricted to non-perishables, such as canned goods and long-shelf-life products only,” she said.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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