‘No one called to advise me’ – policeman who tested positive for Covid-19 left in the dark about isolation

‘No one called to advise me’ – policeman who tested positive for Covid-19 left in the dark about isolation

A police officer shares his story about how he was left without guidance about how to isolate properly after he tested positive for Covid-19.

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Despite being an essential worker, a police officer who tested positive for Covid-19 says he was left in the dark as health officials failed to provide guidance on proper quarantine and isolation.

Charles Mhlongo,* a policeman in Tzaneen was tested on 24 July and got his results three days later. Mhlongo, who is a single-parent to his four-year-old daughter, said officials did not inform him on what to do as he and his family quarantines.

No advice

“The health department called me on Sunday before the results were out and to tell me that they will visit me but they didn’t visit and only called for results,” said Mhlongo.

“My worry is that I don’t know what to do from now because no one called to advise me,” said Mhlongo. Health workers also told him there would be no follow-up test.

Mhlongo had a persistent cough and self-medicated. At his local pharmacy he bought medication zinc, vitamin C supplement and other immune boosters. He also took his daughter to the doctor after she too developed a cough.

“My daughter is  also positive, I had to take her to the doctor as she was coughing a lot but she seems better now,” he says.

Police stations vulnerable

Mhlongo believes he could have been infected at work, where he works at the reception area. The police station did not have enough masks and Mhlongo and his colleagues only had access to sanitiser.

“When we go to our posts, we go without masks or sometimes we use same mask for four days,” he said.

Police said via a media WhatsAapp group that 32 stations across five districts were temporarily closed for decontamination processes. Police stations in Polokwane, Groblersdal and Thabazimbi closed twice in July due to infections.

Limpopo police did not respond to questions from Health-e News about the availability of personal protective equipment at police stations.

General advice

Earlier Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize reduced the number of isolation days from 14 to 10 days.

Limpopo Department of Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said her department will advice anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19. A tracer team should also contact the person who has tested positive.

Mhlongo did not receive any of these services. – Health-e News

*Not his real name.