The return of students to their residences has come with its first cases of covid-19.
A private student accommodation provider has reported three cases of covid-19 since Wits University students returned to residence on Monday, June 8.
The three students are currently in quarantine at their residence building, Clifton Heights run by South Point in Braamfontein. This is according to South Point management. It is not clear whether the three are Wits University students. “Three students are in isolation in a self-contained space, along with another student who is awaiting test results,” said South Point management in response to questions from Wits Vuvuzela. The management added that the quarantine facility has been approved by the Department of Health (DOH).
“All three students were instructed to isolate in our building after the DOH approved our self-contained pod-style accommodation facilities (each with its own dedicated bedrooms, toilets, ablution and kitchen)”, said South Point.
The first two positive cases were reported on July 13 and the student residents of the buildings were notified about the cases via SMS on July 15.
“Dear Clifton tenants, please note that we have received notice of a covid-19 positive case in the building. The tenants will isolate, and we have notified NICD (National Institute For Communicable Diseases Of South Africa). We will follow our covid protocols and commence with a decontamination process,” read the SMS.
Students residents of Clifton Heights say they are taking extra precaution to stay safe in the building. Sindy Thabethe, (20), a second–year BSc general student at Wits said, “Being notified that there is a case in my building helped me take extra precautions and limit my movements in and out of the building.”
“South Point has rigorously managed covid specific health and safety protocols firmly in place and as a precaution is currently running low-occupancy buildings,” said the accommodation provider.
Lerato Shivambu*, (20), a second–year Business Administration student at Rosebank College said she feels at higher risk of getting infected now that she is back at residence.
“I am at a higher risk of getting infected [at Clifton]. South Point has allowed many people to come back to the building and there isn’t really much they do to prevent us from getting the virus,” said Shivambu.
Meanwhile, Wits has revealed on Friday, July 24, that it is aware of 75 covid-19 positive cases among its staff and 123 cases among the student body. This is out of approximately 5 500 permanent staff members and 37 5000 students. “All affected staff members and students are self-isolating, in line with the University’s COVID-19 protocols”, read the statement from the institution.
Attempts to reach Wits University for comment proved unsuccessful by the time of publishing.
*Names have been changed.
FEATURED IMAGE: Three students who tested positive for covid-19 are currently in quarantine in a South Point building in Braamfontein. Photo: Khuleko Siwele
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