The Johannesburg Management Area has partnered with Gauteng Department of Health and National Health Laboratory Services to strengthen capacity for mass screening and testing of officials and inmates for COVID-19.
Johannesburg has taken the cue from National Government by mobilising relevant role players and joining hands with them to wage a relentless war against this dauntless enemy. The management area is doing its part to intensify the rollout of the nationwide mass screening and testing campaign in Correctional Services, officially launched there by Minister Ronald Lamola on 08 April 2020.
The campaign is geared towards ensuring that officials and offenders know their status and continue to take necessary precautions in order to help flatten the curve and curb the rapid spread of the virus. On numerous occasions, between 21 and 30 April 2020, health practitioners from Gauteng Department of Health visited Johannesburg to screen and test officials and offenders, as part of the Disaster Management Response Strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Correctional Services.
As at 06 May 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in DCS was 166. Of these, Gauteng Region accounts for 11 (3 officials and 8 inmates). Out of 1, 209 officials and 532 inmates who have been tested in the Johannesburg Management Area thus far, only one official tested positive. The Management Area is comprised of a cohort of approximately 10 000 inmates, made up of sentenced offenders and remand detainees, and a total of 1, 576 officials.
Special Programmes Manager Zakhele Langa, who has been appointed as the Disaster Management Coordinator, expressed satisfaction with the screening and testing taking place in all centres. He indicated that all officials are sanitised and screened daily at the gates and all entrance points when reporting for duty and those with symptoms are referred to health specialists. Langa also indicated that Occupational Health and Safety Coordinators in all centres are working hard to ensure compliance in the management area.
Acting Area Coordinator Development and Care, Ms Moaisi Mosidi vouched for the competency of the Department’s health care practitioners. “Our health professionals were trained by the Department of Health on how to conduct screening and testing as the process is still continuing in the centres,” she said. She also confirmed that the management area is making sure that officials are supplied with protective gear, including hand sanitisers, hand washing soap, masks and hand gloves.
Area Commissioner for Johannesburg Management Area, Mr Luckyboy Mathiba indicated that there are identified areas for quarantine, for both officials and offenders, in case of suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 cases. Mathiba also wished the infected official a speedy recovery. He further said that the management area will continue to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines, and commended officials for their astuteness and dedication in executing their duties. “The work done by various officials and health care professionals will not go unnoticed,” he said. The Area Commissioner also encouraged officials to wear their masks at all times when reporting for duty.