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More boots on the ground to amplify COVID-19 awareness efforts

More boots on the ground to amplify COVID-19 awareness efforts

by City of Cape Town
9 June 2020

The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has secured the services of nearly 500 Expanded Public Works employees to help drive COVID-19 education and awareness initiatives. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town will deploy 490 Expanded Public Works Programme workers on 15 June 2020 to support the efforts of Environmental Health Practitioners – particularly in the identified hotspot areas within the metropole.

The extra resources have been made available by the National Department of Public Works for a three-month period. The Department will also be responsible for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment.

The EPWP workers will be deployed in areas like Khayelitsha, Dunoon, Philippi East, Ravensmead, Atlantis, Valhalla Park and Bishop Lavis.

There have been more than 30 000 COVID-19 cases recorded in the Western Cape since March 2020 – with just more than 80% in Cape Town. More than half of all infected persons have recovered to date. However, the number of fatalities is approaching 800 and the rate of infections is likely to increase too in the coming weeks.

The City’s clinical efforts are supported by education and awareness outreach work from the Environmental Health Service.

Some of the challenges identified in communities include:

  • A lack of adherence to health and hygiene protocols and social distancing
  • A lack of awareness about COVID-19
  • Lack of interest from some communities in the health awareness initiatives
  • Inability to access certain areas because of unrest/volatility

‘We have also had some reports of suspected cases not adhering to quarantine and isolation protocols. As we have indicated before, most people who contract the virus would be able to recover at home, without any further medical intervention. However, it becomes problematic when persons who have tested positive are not remaining in isolation. This is a massive risk to themselves, but also those around them.

‘We implore the public to please take this virus seriously and to do their utmost to behave in the manner that has been advocated to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their homes and communities. Beating COVID-19 is a shared responsibility and requires that everyone plays their part to ensure their personal safety and the safety of others,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

In addition to community awareness drives, the City’s Environmental Health Service is also tasked with:

  • Assisting in the active tracing of close contacts of infected persons in order to identify the source of their infection and prevent further spread of the disease.
  • Addressing the importance of self-isolation, self-quarantine and waste management, as practices used to curb the further spread of the disease.
  • Engaging with funeral undertakers and healthcare facilities to ensure compliance in the handling of COVID-19 remains, as stipulated in national regulations.
  • Monitoring all food premises, facilities like old age homes, transport interchanges and shelters to ensure that these premises are complying with applicable legislative standards and that adequate arrangements are in place to prevent the spread of the disease.

‘The deployment of EPWP workers as part of our Whole-of-Government approach again shows the commitment from the City of Cape Town to work with National Government to slow the spread and protect vulnerable groups of people who are at high risk,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.

‘We are seeing increased demands on our resources as the pandemic grows, and so we welcome the additional resources to drive our efforts. And, while our focus has shifted to hotspot management, this does not mean that other areas are immune. The virus knows no boundaries and so we require vigilance and collective effort from every single person, at all times. We cannot afford to let our guard down, even for a second,’ added Councillor Badroodien.

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Note to broadcasters:
an audio clip is available for download: https://soundcloud.com/ct-media/09062020-badroodien-epwp

Media enquiries: Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, City of Cape Town, Cell: 072 639 5773, Email: zahid.badroodien@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)
Media enquiries: Alderman Grant Twigg, Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 4699 or Cell: 072 171 1033, Email: Grant.Twigg@capetown.gov.za
(please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)

Tags: COVID-19 coronavirus City of Cape Town