What to do if you think you have Covid-19

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Don't rush to the doctor if you suspect you may have the coronavirus - first call your doctor and await their instruction
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Don't rush to the doctor if you suspect you may have the coronavirus - first call your doctor and await their instruction
Image: BERND THISSEN/GALLO IMAGES/AFP

Weekend Post contacted three doctors’ rooms in Nelson Mandela Bay to find out what their protocols were should someone call in with suspected symptoms of Covid-19.

The general response was that their name and number would be taken and that the doctor would then call back to ask specific questions.

It would then be at the doctor’s discretion to decide what the patient should do — either go and see the doctor at his consultation rooms or be referred for testing with the necessary documentation issued by the doctor.

When Weekend Post called the national hotline for virus-specific information, a pre-recorded message advised the caller to contact a doctor if they had symptoms including a cough, fever, difficulty breathing, had been in contact with a person with Covid-19 or were in an area where testing or treatment for Covid-19 had taken place.

A healthcare practitioner at Ampath Laboratories, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave these suggestions:

  • If you or a loved one suspect you may have contracted Covid-19, contact your doctor immediately if you have a cough, a fever above 38 degrees or difficulty breathing;
  • Seek medical advice immediately if you have the above symptoms and have been in the company of someone with Covid-19, or have travelled abroad to high-risk countries; 
  • Do not go to a consultation room unless directed to do so;
  • If you have travelled abroad or been in contact with someone with Covid-19, but do not show any of the above symptoms,  do not immediately go for testing – instead wait up to five days. This is because  the test will come back negative otherwise. But, should you begin experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately; 
  • If you are asymptomatic but have travelled or been in contact with someone infected with Covid-19, self-isolate for 14 days;
  • Contact the national hotline on 0800 029 999 for information and advice.
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