COVID-19 data disclosure to the National Department of Health

30 March 2021 | Dr Reno Morar, COO

Dear colleagues

This communication serves to advise of the COVID-19 data disclosure to the National Department of Health (National Institute for Occupational Health) as required by the relevant legislative framework.

Nursing staff in the Properties and Services Department’s Occupational Health Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT) may contact you to confirm relevant personal details. We would appreciate your co-operation in providing this information, which we are required to make available to the National Institute for Occupational Health. I am writing to explain why this information is needed and to assure you that your information will be treated as confidential, by the government as well as UCT.

The Disaster Management Act requires all employers, including UCT and other universities, to comply with legislative requirements under the DoEL and the Department of Health (DoH). The regulatory authorities want to enhance the COVID-19 surveillance programme and improve statistical data accuracy throughout the country. The DoEL has an additional obligatory requirement on all employers who employ more than 50 people to submit five data components to the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) as per the Guideline. The NIOH will comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act and will treat all information as confidential.

The information UCT needs to provide to the NIOH includes:

  1. Vulnerable Worker Information (excluding name, address and national ID number); this category only requires a Yes or No response in the vulnerability category
  2. daily symptom screening information that is supplied through the Higher Health App or the UCT Daily Symptom Screening app (where personal details exclude the ID number)
  3. reports of COVID-19 positive cases (personal details include the ID number but no name or address)
  4. reports on post-infection outcome and return to work of employees who had tested positive for COVID 19 (personal details include the ID number but no name or address)
  5. reports on contact tracing when an employee tests positive in the workplace. A high risk of exposure is defined as being in close proximity for at least 15 minutes without the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, UCT is enforcing the use of PPE and other safety measures across campus and we do not anticipate having to file such a report.

Your co-operation in this regard will not only help UCT to comply with government requirements, but will also provide information needed by the DoH and DoEL to help manage work environments during the pandemic and inform vaccination sequencing for working populations

Management is requested to share the information with staff who may not have access to email.

Thanks to all of you for your assistance.

Kind regards

Dr Reno Morar
Chief Operating Officer
Chair of the COVID-19 Co-ordinating Committee

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