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FAQs COVID-19

Find here questions and answers regarding 

On campus 

  • What if I test positive for COVID-19? 

    Students will be managed by SWS clinical staff as per the SWS protocol for managing COVID-19 symptoms. 

    Students in a residence will be transferred to the UCT isolation medical facility at All Africa House for a period of ten (10) days. Students in private accommodation will self-isolate at home or in their private accommodation for a period of ten (10) days. 

    Actions per risks and symptoms

    Low risk and no severe symptoms, including students younger than 55 years of age, students with no pre-existing medical conditions, and those whose are normal with regard to breathing, level of consciousness and mental state

    • Students will be in isolation for a period of ten (10) days from the date of symptom onset, or if tested for COVID-19, ten (10) days from the date of the test. 
    • Students in the UCT isolation facility will be monitored daily by an SWS nurse. 
    • Students will be referred for testing if they meet the Department of Health (DoH) criteria for testing. 

    High risk and no severe symptoms, including students 55 years of age or older, with pre-existing medical condition(s), who are normal with regard to breathing, level of consciousness and mental state

    • Students will be referred for testing as per the current DoH guidelines. 
    • Students who are medically stable will be in isolation for a period of 10 days from the date of symptom onset or the date of the test if asymptomatic. 
    • Students in the UCT isolation facility will be monitored daily by an SWS nurse. 

    Severe COVID-19 symptoms, including students with severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, altered mental state or reduced level of consciousness

    • Students will be assessed by a clinician and referred to hospital for further care and treatment. 
    • Students will be in isolation for a period of 10 days from the date their severe COVID-19 symptoms resolve. 

UCT's COVID-19 isolation medical facility

The UCT COVID-19 isolation medical facility is located on UCT's Middle Campus, at All Africa House.

  • Who gets admitted to the isolation facility?

    Students with an acute (≤14 days) respiratory tract infection or other clinical illness compatible with COVID-19 and/or who screen positive or their health check clearance denied on the UCT Daily Health Screening app must contact SWS on the same day for a consultation with an SWS clinician.

    Remember, other viral or bacterial infections have similar symptoms as COVID-19 infection; therefore, students must consult with an SWS clinician immediately when they develop a flu-like illness.

    Stay in your room until you have consulted with an SWS clinician and do not use any shared space if you think you may be infectious but immediately reach out to one of our SWS COVID-19 support contacts.

    Admission procedure:

    • Following a consultation with an SWS COVID-19 Response clinician, students will be advised on the decision for admission to the isolation facility and provided with advice on what to expect.
    • Students will be transported from their residence to the isolation facility using the UCT Shuttle Service.
    • On arrival at the isolation facility, students will have a physical assessment to determine the severity of their illness. 
    • Only students with mild symptoms and no shortness of breath/dyspnoea will be admitted to the isolation facility. Students with symptoms and signs suggestive of severe illness will be referred to hospital for further assessment and treatment.
    • Students are provided with medication, if necessary, on admission and during their stay.
  • When I arrive on campus, how do I get to the isolation facility?

    We will provide transport to and from the isolation facility.

  • What kind of room will I be staying at?

    At UCT's isolation facility, you are provided with a secure and quiet room which is conducive to studying. You won't share bathroom or kitchen facilities with others.

    Clean bed towels are provided during your stay.

    A telephone is provided for calling the 24-hour SWS COVID-19 line (021 650 1271) for reporting any issues.

  • What about food?

    You will be provided with meals for the duration of the isolation period.

  • Do I have to stay indoors at all times?

    You may leave your room to use the outside quad area with prior arrangement with the nursing staff.

    Please maintain a physical distance of more than 2 metres from others and wear a surgical/medical mask when outside your room. 

  • Is there a cleaning service? 

    No. You must clean your own room during your stay. We will provide you with the cleaning materials. 

  • Any other rules I should know about? 

    No visitors are allowed. Alcohol and drugs are prohibited.

  • Will I have medical appointments? 

    The nursing staff will conduct daily telephone consultations with you and will provide medication to manage the mild symptoms.

  • Should I inform those I’ve had close contact with about my symptoms/diagnosis? 

    Yes. And if you test positive for COVID-19, the isolation facility staff will get in touch with your close contacts to advise them. They will be asked to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. 

    Where the contacts are fellow UCT students, they must report any COVID-19 symptoms to the SWS staff. Close contacts of COVID-19 cases who develop symptoms will be managed according to the procedures described above. 

General

Vulnerability to COVID-19 and Coronavirus disease

  • I am younger than 30 years. Does this mean that I am not at risk at all?

    Most young people who contract the virus experience a mild form of COVID-19. However, you should also consider your health in relation to the comorbidities listed above. If you are concerned, please consult a clinician or email sws@uct.ac.za for advice.

  • I have a chronic illness. Will I be at higher risk than other people?

    Please consult your prescribing clinician or facility. Be sure to ask specifically in the context of returning to campus, clinical work, and living in a university residence.

    Should your prescribing physician not be available, please contact the SWS Triage Nurse (phone: 021 650 5620) to discuss whether your illness or medication causes immunosuppression.

  • I'm HIV-positive and on HIV medication. Am I at high-risk?

    Generally, if you are HIV-positive but your most recent monitoring blood tests showed a CD4 count greater than 200, and you have an undetectable viral load, you are not regarded as high risk.

    Be sure to obtain advice from your prescribing clinician if you have recently developed any new symptoms or if you have not been taking your medication compliantly in recent months.

  • I might be pregnant. How does that effect me going back to university?

    If there is a chance that you could be pregnant, please take a pregnancy test before travelling to Cape Town or moving into residence. 

    If you are already in residence when you find out you are pregnant, contact the clinician treating you or Student Wellness Services (SWS) for advice. 

  • I have asthma. How do I know if it is poorly controlled or not?

    Your prescribing clinician will best advise you by looking at overall trends of your asthma management over time. They will also consider whether you have had asthma flare-ups over time and whether you were required to change your medication type or dosage.  

    Should your prescribing physician not be available, please get in touch with the SWS Triage Nurse (phone: 021 650 5620) to discuss whether your illness or medication causes immunosuppression.

  • How do I know if my heart condition is an “unstable or complicated cardiac disease”?

    Please consult your prescribing physician. Be sure to ask specifically in the context of returning to campus, clinical work, and living in a university residence.

Infection with / contact with person infected with COVID-19

  • What is a "close contact"?

    ‘Close contact’ occurs when you had face-to-face contact (at a distance closer than 1.5 metres) or have been in an enclosed space for at least 15 minutes with a person having tested positive for COVID-19. The contact must have occurred while the positive person was still infectious,  i.e. two days before their symptoms started until ten days after their symptoms started.

  • I was exposed to / in close contact with someone who may have COVID-19 – what do I do?

    If you develop symptoms, you need to quarantine in your room for ten days. If you do not have symptoms, you don’t need to isolate. Wear a mask when you are around others.

    Important: If the close contact tests positive for COVID-19, you need to go into quarantine for a total of ten consecutive days – even if you don’t have any symptoms.

  • I was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 – what do I do?

    Remain in self-quarantine at home and monitor yourself for symptoms using the UCT Daily Health Screening app and follow the prompts. 

  • I tested positive for COVID-19. What happens now?

    You are managed according to our standard procedures for dealing with positive cases outlined in the Procedure for students arriving at residence (summary).

    If you were in close contact with others in the two days before you were tested or two days before your symptoms began, those individuals are at risk. The SWS COVID-19 team will contact them and advise them on symptoms screening and self-isolation.

  • What if multiple students are diagnosed with COVID-19?

    If any UCT students or staff were in close contact with infected students, they are at risk. We will ask them to self-quarantine for a period of ten (10) days from the date of the infected student's test or symptom onset.

  • What if multiple students or staff are diagnosed with COVID-19?

    Self-quarantine is required for anyone who was in close contact with the infected parties.

    If healthy/asymptomatic lecturers had casual contact with infected parties, they must suspend in-person teaching and cancel or postpone group gatherings. They may continue classes via online learning.

    Depending on the extent of the outbreak, the department, faculty or university may close.