Community Screening and Testing well under way in Garden Route

In the fight against the coronavirus, Government has embarked on an active program through the COVID-19 Home Visits program to find people who might need help. As part of the COVID-19 Screening and Testing programme, the Western Cape Government Health will intensify its community screening and testing in the coming weeks.

More than 18 000 people have been screened and 75 referred for testing for COVID-19 in the Garden Route District since the start of the community screening and testing programme on 6 April 2020.

“We must ensure that our vulnerable communities are screened and tested in greater numbers to ensure our people are protected against the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” said Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo, MEC for Health in Western Cape.

These community screening and testing outreaches are aimed at finding as many people as possible who might need help. Screening means that teams will go on door-to-door visits and ask a few questions and refer those who need to be tested to the correct site. The more people our teams can talk to (screen) the better chance we have at stopping the spread and in doing so, keep our vulnerable community members safe. The questions will mainly focus on whether or not a person has symptoms of illness at the moment (a sore throat, a cough or fever). These questions need to be answered honestly.

During the community screening and testing the support of the community is essential for the success in stopping the spread of the virus. Our health teams are identifiable by their badges and clothing/uniform and allow them to screen you.

If you are referred for testing, be assured these tests are safe. Testing for coronavirus is done by taking a swab in your nose. The results will become available in 2-3 days so please ensure you give your correct contact details to the health worker so they can contact you.

While you await your results, we ask that you please quarantine at home in a separate room, if possible. We appeal to people who need to quarantine to stay home and not have visitors. If you cannot quarantine at home, speak to the health worker who will advise on facilities that are available for isolation and quarantine.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue practicing the 5 Golden Rules of Good Hygiene and to wear a cloth mask. Remember the Golden rules of prevention: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, keep surfaces clean, do not touch your face, cough and sneeze in your elbow fold, keep 1,5m away from people, and stay at home.

Statistics for Garden Route screening from 6 – 28 April 2020.

Bitou sub-district: 4252 people screened and 7 referred for testing

George sub-district: 5068 people screened and 29 referred for testing

Kannaland sub-district: 3039 people screened and 5 referred for testing

Mossel Bay sub-district: 6165 people screened and 63 referred for testing

What individuals must do:

  • Please welcome health workers when screening
  • Answer the questions honestly.
  • Remember the 5 Golden rules: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, keep surfaces clean, do not touch your face, cough and sneeze in your elbow fold, keep 1,5m away from people, and stay at home
  • Please co-operate fully and support family for testing

What communities should do:

  • Please encourage people to be screened and tested
  • Look out for health workers who have official dentification and branded clothing
  • Please support our health workers and keep them safe
  • Please help to keep communities clean and encourage good behaviour
  • Don’t be afraid of testing or potential sick people.
  • Please support the elderly and children

Note: community screening is not the only place where screening is possible. Other methods of screening for COVID-19 include:

  1. Self-assessment risk tool (
  2. Any Primary Healthcare facility is able to conduct screening (please be sure to call ahead)
  3. There are a number of dedicated sites (Testing and Triage centres where screening can be done)

We appreciate the community’s continued support and ask them not to discriminate against COVID-19 survivors but to support them as they no longer pose a health risk.

Caption: Community Health Workers during door-to-door visits.

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