Coronavirus News Africa

Woman dies at Cape Town retirement village hit by Covid-19 despite precautions

File photo – A woman has died of Covid-19 at a Cape Town retirement village.

  • More than 40 residents and staff members at the Oude Westhof retirement facility in Bellville have contracted Covid-19.
  • They did their best to prevent it, but still it crept in, said village manager Gerhard van der Merwe.
  • A matron in the frail care section said they were coping, for now.

One woman died at Bellville’s Oude Westhof retirement facility and more than 40 residents and staff have contracted Covid-19, village manager Gerhard van der Merwe said on Monday.

This was despite the strict safety measures the facility introduced even before the lockdown was implemented at the end of March.

“We started a long time ago with isolating and locking down,” said Van der Merwe. “And still it crept in.”

Van der Merwe added that there was no way of pinning down exactly how the virus entered the complex.

READ | Western Cape’s testing backlog drops dramatically

However, people were isolated and everybody took Covid-19 advice and rules very seriously.

In spite of all their efforts, the numbers of people who contracted the coronavirus grew and last week, one of the residents died.

‘Can’t pinpoint it to one person’

Netwerk24 reported that Duifie Theunissen died at the age of 77 last week. Her daughter Marianne du Toit said the retirement home’s regulations had been so good that she was reluctant to let her mother leave for hospital care for another infection she picked up.

Asked how he thought it had entered the facility, Van der Merwe said: “You don’t know. Was it someone coughing? Was it someone with diarrhoea? You can’t pinpoint it to one person and say: ‘That’s the guy’.”

In the meantime, with staff in quarantine or isolation, the facility had to find new nursing staff – “a scarce resource” in the Western Cape, which is currently bearing the brunt of the virus in South Africa.

Matron Ina Prevedello in the frail care section said: “We’re coping,” in between training the new staff. “It’s a bit hectic.”

She said that 22 residents and 25 staff members had contracted the virus in the frail care section and that the woman who died lived in the village in one of the houses.

The facility offers a range of services, including a heated pool, a hairdressing salon and a bar for a night cap. It also has a dining room, a library and a gym.

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