MHA has formed a CovidCom to drive its battle against Coronavirus/COVID-19 disease which will definitely hit PE, and may cause significant challenges for our frail, elderly residents. We are doing what we can to be prepared for it.

Communication is key. CovidCom agreed that we would use the website as the primary means of communicating to residents and their familiesCovidCom has addressed a letter to all residents, other than those in frail care, which was delivered  on Monday 16 March 2020

 HOW FAR HAS THE COVID COUNTDOWN PROGRESSED?                                   (10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-----) 


Screenshot 2021-10-19 at 14.43.41

 There were plenty of televised countdowns for rocket launches in the 1960’s which captured the world’s imagination, and which showed the countdown as something positive. The previous association with countdown was seen as very negative, almost apocalyptic (think atomic bomb). The space rocket launches showed the countdown as a kind of genesis; the counting down to a new adventure, and a new beginning. 

Is this where the world finds itself now? Have we made sufficient progress in our war against Covid-19 that we can sense a new beginning? How are our City and MHA affected right now? Since 1 October we have been in Lockdown Level 1, a far cry from Level 5 which came into effect on 27 March 2020 (that was 571 days ago!!). Our Government defines the various Lockdown level criteria as follows: 

  • Alert Level 5: a high Covid-19 spread with a low health system readiness 
  • Alert Level 4: a moderate to high Covid-19 spread with a low to moderate health system readiness 
  • Alert Level 3: a moderate Covid-19 spread with a moderate health system readiness 
  • Alert Level 2: a moderate Covid-19 spread with a high health system readiness 
  • Alert Level 1: a low Covid-19 spread with a high health system readiness 

Thanks to discipline and co-operation on the part of our populace, and the widespread administration of vaccines, we now have a low Covid spread and a high health system readiness (vaccination sites, testing, hospitals). 

Globally we have learnt from bitter experience, and with huge loss of life (almost 5 million to date), that this Covid war can change direction in a deadly and rapid way, like with a runaway forest fire. Even if we believe that we are in ‘countdown’ mode towards a new beginning, we have to remain on our guard, to obey laws and regulations, and to keep on playing our part in winning this destructive war. There is still a real possibility of further waves and outbreaks, both locally and globally. Opening up borders for travellers, the Christmas holiday season, summer in South Africa, increasing ‘mass gatherings’, relaxation of rules and regulations, still vaccination hesitancy, the unpredictable behaviour of the virus; any or all of these could trigger another wave. We must all do what we can to prevent this from happening; remember that in protecting ourselves we will be protecting others too. 

CovidCom met yesterday to review where we are currently, and what we can or should do to move the MHA family closer to the ‘new beginning’ mentioned above. We are confident that we are moving in the right direction, while still remaining careful and cautious. We hope that the decisions made, and recorded on page 2, will be greeted with a mixture of relief and joy. More is yet to come! 

The Department of Social Development (referred to here as DSD) recently issued a document titled PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR RELAXATION OF MOVEMENTS WITHIN RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES FOR OLDER PERSONS. We have used that document as a template for reviewing the ‘relaxations’ we have already put in place, and for informing what further changes we should now make. As always, MHA/CovidCom will not knowingly disobey rules and regulations dictated by Government, and we will continue to act in the best interests of residents, staff, and their loved ones. 

The following changes affecting residents of CP Bradfield Frail Care, Maranatha Frail Care and Bob Zeiss Bedsitters will come into effect on Thursday 21 October 2021 (and, for clarity, we record some existing or new rules associated with these changes): 

  1. Residents will be allowed to leave the premises for shopping/social/personal reasons, limited to two (2) hours per week 
  2. Residents will be allowed to leave the premises for medical reasons, to visit a bank, or for any other personal business-related reasons (this is the current position) 
  3. Regarding 1. and 2. above, any such movement out must be by prior arrangement with the Matron, either in person or by phone, between 08h00 and 16h00, Monday to Friday. 
  4. In addition, MHA is obligated by DSD to maintain a register of any resident leaving the premises, and so residents or accompanying family members are requested to complete the register (its location will be advised to residents) 
  5. Visitors/family members (a maximum of two per resident, and not under age 18) who wish to enter any of the abovementioned facilities are obligated by DSD to sign the screening form provided, before entering (there have been a few instances of inefficiency regarding access via the CPB/BZB gate, for which we apologize. This has been addressed) 
  6. Rules regarding visiting a resident in his/her room remain unchanged. Visiting times also remain unchanged (10h30 to 12h00 and 14h30 to 16h00, Monday to Sunday} 
  7. The DSD Guidelines mentioned above state “The resident’s right to decline a visitor should be respected” (eg. an unvaccinated person). Please bear this in mind 
  8. It is strongly recommended by DSD and by MHA that residents going out should, as far as humanly possible, not be exposed to shopping malls, other indoor public spaces, large gatherings or public transport, but rather be confined to private homes, large outdoor spaces and private transport 
  9. The DSD Guidelines emphasize that if, during the period away, a resident gets accidentally exposed to anyone where there is a real or perceived risk of infection and the resident gets to be alerted to this, MHA (the Matron or senior person on duty) must be immediately informed, and before the resident returns to the facility 
  10. The MHA bus facility, used for transport to/from shopping centres etc, remains suspended until driver Mike returns from leave in early November 
  11. Regarding MHA now allowing residents to leave their place of residence (per 1. and 2. above), trust must be the foundation for moving forward 
  12. If this new relaxation of some rules regarding leaving the facilities results in Covid infections, we will have no choice other than to return to ‘locked in’ mode immediately, until the threat is managed. If these new steps prove successful (we hope and pray that they will), CovidCom will consider steps to further relax the rules and regulations, as we move to the desperately desired ‘new beginning’. 

Malcolm Stewart 
CovidCom Chairman (and on behalf of the Board, Management, our staff, and CovidCom) 

PLEASE REMEMBER: As we present new “Breaking news” or “Newsflash” bulletins, the replaced ones are being filed under the News tab, and then under the Archives:Covid-19 drop-down folder on our website. Residents and family with access to internet will then be able to pull up previous bulletins, if and when needed. 

DISCLAIMER: MHA and CovidCom are endeavouring to regularly communicate useful or necessary information to our residents, staff, and the wider MHA family, so that we can all be best prepared to confront the COVID-19 monster at our door. To the best of our ability we ensure that the material shared is reliable and accurate, but MHA cannot be held responsible for any unintended errors or inaccuracies. Please immediately bring such errors or inaccuracies to our attention, via the link.