This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) updates and other developments on campus.
1. Updates on UCT COVID-19 cases
UCT is pleased to report that the first student to test positive for COVID-19 at the university has now fully recovered. The student left self-isolation late last week.
Since the last update issued on 1 April, UCT has recorded one positive case of COVID-19. The staff member is currently receiving treatment. The process of contact tracing got underway immediately and all persons identified will remain in quarantine for 14 days.
UCT has now had seven cases of COVID-19 – four staff members and three students. This includes the two cases referred to above.
Updates on COVID-19 cases in the UCT community are now issued weekly.
2. Support for staff health and wellness
UCT is a close community, but one that is currently working and living under very unsual conditions as a result of COVID-19. UCT Human Resources offers many forms of support, including the coordination of services provided by the Independent Counselling and Advisory Services and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.
3. Research and postgraduate work during lockdown
Challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic provide great uncertainty and anxiety for many researchers who are unable to proceed with aspects of their projects for the moment and have time-limited funding. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sue Harrison has provided updates on what UCT is doing to support the research project and tips on how to continue your work
4. No on-campus flu vaccines in 2020
Please note that Discovery Health and Kaelo will not be booking employer events this year to do the flu vaccines as they have been asked to channel these to high-risk members and will be doing them at point of service. Please visit the Discovery website to view high-risk criteria. Members who do not meet the criteria can still have a flu vaccination with the cost paid from their medical savings account should there be funds, or privately.
Although the onsite UCT clinic is closed during the lockdown, Kaelo (primary healthcare services provider for staff in pay classes 2 to 6) is providing free flu vaccinations for members with registered chronic conditions until 30 June 2020 (subject to availability and as per policy). They will also be covering the cost of the pathology test (up to a maximum of R1 400) for confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.
To access these services, Kaelo members can phone their Kaelo primary healthcare network doctors.
5. Tips on how to create a comfortable home workspace
Suzanne Key, occupational health nurse practitioner at UCT’s Safety, Health and Environmental unit in Properties and Services shares a few tips on how to set up your workspace at home and on staying healthy during lockdown. These include practical workstations to avoid discomfort, the importance of a routine and regular exercise, and how to curb unhealthy snacking.
6. Council nominations 2020-2024
Members of the UCT Convocation and donors are invited to nominate persons for election as members of the university Council for the 2020-2024 term. The current Council’s term of office will end on 30 June 2020. Nominations must be received no later than 23 April 2020.
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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 and implement a national lockdown from 26 March. The intention of these drastic measures is to “flatten the curve” and contain the spread of the coronavirus to enable healthcare workers to more effectively treat those affected. Although South Africa has recently reached a peak of COVID-19 infections, the country is expecting a surge in positive cases in August.
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.
Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19
The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.
To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.
As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
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.