Goodwood among Covid-19 hot spots

Do the numbers include the influx of homeless to the area?

Civic leaders are angry that the Western Cape Department of Health has listed Goodwood as a Covid-19 hot spot. They want to know why.

The head of the department, Dr Keith Cloete, said hot spots were defined as areas with more than five active cases per 100 000 people.  

The six hot spot sub-districts are Tygerberg (Bellville, Elsies River, Goodwood), Khayelitsha, Western (Dunoon), Klipfontein (Delft, Delft South, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Manenberg), Southern (Imizamo Yethu, Philippi) and Eastern (Mfuleni).

Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said the caseload data had been made available by suburb so residents could get a clear idea of how prevalent the virus was.

Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch chairman James Ellis asked whether the numbers included the influx of homeless and refugees on Wingfield land and whether they had been tested for the virus. 

Goodwood Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association chairman Faizel Petersen asked whether the homeless in the area had ever been quarantined to comply with the national lockdown. He said the refugees at Wingfield, apart from an initial screening, had not been subjected to ongoing medical monitoring.

However, Dr Badroodien said that if Mr Petersen was referring to closure of the City’s Strandfontein shelter for the homeless, it was worth noting that everyone had been screened before entering the site and before leaving it. “There was only one positive case linked to the site – no other close contact has tested positive, including the persons who were rehoused along with the positive patient or 33 others who were deemed close contacts and were quarantined at a provincial government facility.”

He added that the City had not dumped any refugees at Wingfield. “Responsibility for this site lies with the national government. That said, there have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases at this location and therefore the presence of the refugees does not contribute to the suburb being considered a hot spot,” he said.

On Friday May 29 Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said hot spots would be subject to strict movement restrictions if health interventions failed to reduce transmission of the disease.

Dr Mkhize declined to list the exact criteria for returning to hard lockdown levels but said the government would resort to draconian steps if it was clear that patterns of movement or social behaviour were making it impossible to contain the spread of Covid-19

Dr Badroodien said the homeless were free to accept or decline assistance from the City, but many, especially in Goodwood, rejected the City’s help because residents gave them food, money and clothes. That encouraged them to remain on the street, he said.

“My sincere appeal is that you use your networks to encourage your residents to stop giving to the homeless and to rather support shelters in your area or the surrounding areas,” he said.

Last week, Panorama Palms reported that 76 people – 41 residents and 35 staff – at the privately-owned retirement village had tested positive for Covid-19.