The number of residents from the Association for the Aged (Tafta) who have tested positive for Covid-19 is increasing at an alarming rate after it emerged 15 had been infected in facilities across Durban.
According to the latest reports, one person has already died.
Four residents were infected at Langeler Towers, six at Tafta Park, two at Tafta on Ridge, one at Tafta Lodge, one at Kings Hall and a staff member.
Tafta’s chief executive, Femada Shamam, said within Tafta homes they had seen how behaviours and actions had the ability to change the course of the pandemic’s spread.
She said it was unfortunate they had lost a resident, living at Tafta on Ridge, to the virus on Sunday.
In a letter sent to the residents, Shamam said the senior citizen who died was alone in hospital, with no one allowed to comfort or care for him.
“For a vast number of those who contract this virus, the same fate awaits, so I ask you today to please understand that we are now in the eye of this pandemic storm.”
She appealed to residents to take all the necessary steps to keep themselves safe. She warned residents that emerging evidence had indicated the virus may be carried in the air in places that were crowded, closed or had poor air circulation.
She advised residents to restrict movement in and out of buildings.
“Speak to building supervisors to assist where necessary such as with activities that require you leaving the home,” she said in the letter.
Shamam told The Mercury yesterday that when an infection was discovered, Tafta’s first priority was to ensure the ill person was cared for, their family were informed and proper isolation and sanitisation measures were implemented.
“We communicate to those immediately impacted, and then others,” she said.
Shamam said Scientology volunteer ministers had assisted by sanitising Tafta facilities after every infection. “They have been a blessing to Tafta.”
When the first cases were reported, two of the facilities were placed under lockdown to prevent further spread.
She said in terms of a hard lockdown, Tafta’s response was based on risk assessment and exposure because each building was different in terms of layout and communal facilities.
“The newer cases that have emerged have resulted in a different approach, with just the communal dining areas being closed down and elders being served in their rooms.
“We urge all family members to also appeal to elders to stop all unnecessary movement out of the building – a challenge we have been dealing with as a team from the start of the lockdown.”