Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to inform you that we have confirmed a third positive case of COVID-19 at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Our first case was confirmed on Sunday 15 March 2020 and the second case on Thursday 19 March 2020.
The first case was a UCT-employed staff member. The second was a UCT-based visiting researcher associated with a department at UCT. The third case confirmed today, 21 March, is a UCT-employed project manager who worked in the same department as the second case.
In all three instances the Provincial Department of Health confirmed the cases through the prescribed protocol. The three colleagues involved are in quarantine. The Department of Health has also immediately begun contact tracing in the respective cases and those identified as close contacts have been informed and asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks.
We continue to monitor each case and we wish all three colleagues the best in what is a difficult time. We sincerely trust that they will return to their full health.
Please note we are committed to maintain confidentiality in relation to the medical conditions of staff. This includes the information in relation to testing for whatever infectious or non-infectious diseases a person may have and is an important ethical imperative. Breaking that confidentiality is not acceptable and for healthcare professionals (who include health scientists) is against all moral codes. Naming people in e-mails or over social media platforms, or releasing information about them that could identify them, must be avoided.
Please visit UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website, which has all the relevant information in relation to UCT’s response to the pandemic.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Updates will be posted on UCT’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 feature page on the UCT News website.
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March. This was followed by the implementation of a national lockdown, which has been in effect since midnight on 26 March and is currently scheduled until 16 April. The intention of this drastic measure is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected.
UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information.
In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.