The unfolding COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented occurrence requiring a systematic coordinated response. The National Department of Health and National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) have developed clinical guidelines for health workers, frequently asked questions, a quick reference infographic and information on communicable diseases to assist practitioners.
The HPCSA recognises practitioner concerns about their own health and those under their care and recommends following the NICD directives when dealing with COVID-19.
Healthcare practitioners are encouraged to work with colleagues and patients to use professional judgement to assess risk and to deliver safe care informed by the appropriate guidance and the adherence to the professional standards and the codes of conduct for their profession.
Moreover, the HPCSA urges practitioners to also take care of their own health and to seek help when needed.
Practitioners will be kept abreast of further developments through regular updates.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death (WHO).
The NCID states that in their efforts to expand and streamline testing for COVID-19, doctors do not need to contact the NICD for approval as long as they apply the case definition before testing. The NICD will test the submitted samples as long as the required supporting documents accompany the sample (specimen submission form and PUI form) which is available on the NICD website.
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