Jewish old age home rocked by wave of positive COVID-19 cases

News The South African

An elderly care facility in Vredehoek, Cape Town, has reported a wave of COVID-19 cases among staff and residents on Wednesday 13 May.

The Highlands House Home for Jewish Aged confirmed on that 26 staff members and 12 residents had tested positive after the facility’s latest round of testing for over 500 people.

One resident had already succumbed to the virus earlier in May. Old age homes are a concern for health officials, with tenants particularly vulnerable to the virus and it’s most severe symptoms.

Residents quarantined 

Executive director Harris Burman said that all residents are now confined to their rooms and are receiving care and protective equipment. 

“All 12 residents with positive test results were isolated on-site upon confirmation of test results,” Burman said.

“They are receiving all services in their rooms and do not leave their rooms. Nursing staff are closely monitoring them and each resident is attended daily by a doctor on-site. Staff attending to these residents has been provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.”

Residents who have not yet tested positive are also under strict quarantine in their respective rooms. 

“All our other residents are confined to their rooms for the time being. Our mentally frail residents are confined to their floor of the building, as the nature of their frailty does not allow for stricter confinement,” he added.

One fatality at facility in May

The facility is being monitored by a dedicated COVID-19 medical team, and provisions such as ventilators are being procured for the resident’s safety. They are being regularly monitored by on-site doctors. 

Burman said that any staff who had come into contact with a woman who died at the facility on 2 May were sent home immediately after she passed away.

“Upon confirmation of the results, we immediately sent home any and all staff who may have had contact with her,” he said. 

This is a developing story.

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Author: Dan Meyer

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