Community Care Centre in Ocean View a success

Ocean View residents who test positive for Covid-19 can now quarantine and self-isolate close to home while trained volunteers from the area look after them.

Ocean View residents who test positive for the coronavirus no longer need to leave the area to make use of quarantine and self-isolation facilities. The Ocean View Community Care Centre now offers a place where those who are ill can recover in a familiar setting, with face-to-face care from members of their community.

A team of volunteers from Ocean View worked under the guidance of Leanne Brady from Cape Town Together, a doctor involved in creating a toolkit for setting up and running centres for those who contract Covid-19, to set up the Ocean View centre. The idea came from Sierra Leone’s Ebola response in 2015, where they were seen to be effective at providing care at a community level, as well as combating stigma around the disease and building trust in the health response. 

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The biggest challenge the team faced was finding a venue for the centre. After failing to secure a public or private facility, resident Ramona Lamb offered her home as a last resort. Lamb was aware of the risk involved in having the care centre at her home, but “I thought that as long as we keep ourselves protected and adhere to the regulations around sanitising and cleaning, everything will be fine”. Residents with Covid-19 are housed in a flat on her property, which has a separate entrance to the main house. 

The volunteers attended multiple training sessions on the correct way to use and dispose of personal protective equipment, and were shown how to monitor their residents’ temperatures and oxygen saturation levels. They also have access to a dedicated helpline for community care centres such as theirs. Volunteer doctors man the line 24 hours a day to answer any questions they may have. 

27 July 2020: Ramona Lamb juggles being a mother with cooking for Ocean View’s feeding schemes and volunteering at the community care centre for Covid-19 patients on her property. Some residents are opposed to the centre, as they think she is receiving food donations.
27 July 2020: Ramona Lamb juggles being a mother with cooking for Ocean View’s feeding schemes and volunteering at the community care centre for Covid-19 patients on her property. Some residents are opposed to the centre, as they think she is receiving food donations.

Demand has been low since the Ocean View care centre launched on 7 July, but the volunteers have cared for three residents so far that had to self-isolation. The first two residents, Janine Felix and Ruby Marais, arrived on the last weekend in July and returned home on 3 August. 

“I am over the moon. I don’t have, like words to describe it because the whole mission was to help the community no matter who it was. I didn’t know [we were] gonna get such lovely ladies. The next two might not be. I don’t know. With them coming in Covid-positive, being a risk to their families, and now being able to send them back is amazing. We didn’t do anything magical. All we did was care [for them] like we would for our brother, our sister, our mother, or our aunt,” said exhausted volunteer Ricochet van Rensberg the day Felix and Marais went home.

Even though the centre is not always in use, the team is confident they can be up and running in 24 hours if someone needs a place to rest and recover. And the residents of Ocean View can rest easy knowing they’ll receive top-class care, close to home, from within their community.

27 July 2020: Tonique Andrews sits in the morning sun after working the night shift. The 21-year-old has been involved in community initiatives since the age of 14. When she was 16, Andrews joined the Emergency Assistance Volunteer Support team, a community-based disaster and fire response organisation. Since joining, she has found herself most interested in the medical side of the response team’s obligations and joined the Ocean View Community Care Centre volunteers to add to her skills.
27 July 2020: Tonique Andrews sits in the morning sun after working the night shift. The 21-year-old has been involved in community initiatives since the age of 14. When she was 16, Andrews joined the Emergency Assistance Volunteer Support team, a community-based disaster and fire response organisation. Since joining, she has found herself most interested in the medical side of the response team’s obligations and joined the Ocean View Community Care Centre volunteers to add to her skills.
27 July 2020: Ricochet van Rensberg, 24, was instrumental in bringing the care centre team together, working closely with doctor Leanne Brady from the start of the pandemic. When measuring oxygen saturation levels one evening, 51-year-old care centre resident Ruby Marais’ was slightly below normal. In line with his training, Van Rensberg called the Covid-19 care centre hotline, but was told they could not help him. They did not refer him to anyone who could, so he reached out to Brady. She advised him to call the metro call centre directly, and an ambulance picked Marais up from the centre the next day. She was taken to hospital, but was soon discharged with a list of breathing exercises to do. From then on, her oxygen saturation level stayed within the normal range.
27 July 2020: Ruby Marais was tested for Covid-19 on Thursday 23 July and got her test results two days later. Once she got over the initial shock of testing positive, her niece, who knows Ramona Lamb, told her about the community care centre. She spoke to Lamb and they decided Marais would check in on 26 July. Marais lives with her 87-year-old mother, her disabled twin sister and her niece’s three-year-old daughter, so it was not possible for her to self-isolate at home. Marais found the two-day wait for her test results extremely stressful as she feared infecting her family. When she arrived at the care centre, she was quite ill. ‘I can’t remember how I got in here, how I got up the stairs, how I got to bed.’ She felt cared for throughout her stay. The team of volunteers checked on her constantly to make sure she was eating as she had no appetite early on. When she left, she was feeling full of energy. ‘I feel happy. It’s usually drugs and alcohol abuse,’ Marais said of living in Ocean View, ‘but this is actually something good.’
27 July 2020: Ruby Marais was tested for Covid-19 on Thursday 23 July and got her test results two days later. Once she got over the initial shock of testing positive, her niece, who knows Ramona Lamb, told her about the community care centre. She spoke to Lamb and they decided Marais would check in on 26 July. Marais lives with her 87-year-old mother, her disabled twin sister and her niece’s three-year-old daughter, so it was not possible for her to self-isolate at home. Marais found the two-day wait for her test results extremely stressful as she feared infecting her family. When she arrived at the care centre, she was quite ill. ‘I can’t remember how I got in here, how I got up the stairs, how I got to bed.’ She felt cared for throughout her stay. The team of volunteers checked on her constantly to make sure she was eating as she had no appetite early on. When she left, she was feeling full of energy. ‘I feel happy. It’s usually drugs and alcohol abuse,’ Marais said of living in Ocean View, ‘but this is actually something good’.
27 July 2020: Janine Felix, 39, was the first resident of the Ocean View Community Care Centre. Felix was tested for Covid-19 after having what felt like bad flu for a while. After she got her results on Friday 3 July, she received a phone call saying she would be admitted to the Lagoon Beach Hotel to self-isolate. She was relieved as there are 10 people in her household. Felix waited to be picked up but no one came. On Monday 6 July she called the hospital, only for her doctor to tell her that she did not know about the admission. The doctor arranged for her to be picked up the next day, when she was taken to the hotel. ‘Nobody comes and checks up on you, takes your temperature, nothing like that,’ said Felix. She continued to experience symptoms after she left the hotel, including a bad cough that kept her from sleeping at night. This led her to contact Ramona Lamb to see if she could quarantine and recover at the Ocean View centre, where she checked in on 25 July. ‘They do the check-ups. Yeah. They keep you company. You feel at home,’ said Felix.
27 July 2020: Janine Felix, 39, was the first resident of the Ocean View Community Care Centre. Felix was tested for Covid-19 after having what felt like bad flu for a while. After she got her results on Friday 3 July, she received a phone call saying she would be admitted to the Lagoon Beach Hotel to self-isolate. She was relieved as there are 10 people in her household. Felix waited to be picked up but no one came. On Monday 6 July she called the hospital, only for her doctor to tell her that she did not know about the admission. The doctor arranged for her to be picked up the next day, when she was taken to the hotel. ‘Nobody comes and checks up on you, takes your temperature, nothing like that,’ said Felix. She continued to experience symptoms after she left the hotel, including a bad cough that kept her from sleeping at night. This led her to contact Ramona Lamb to see if she could quarantine and recover at the Ocean View centre, where she checked in on 25 July. ‘They do the check-ups. Yeah. They keep you company. You feel at home,’ said Felix.
21 July 2020: Ricochet van Rensberg hangs Covid-19 instructional material on the wall in the care centre lounge.
21 July 2020: Ricochet van Rensberg hangs Covid-19 instructional material on the wall in the care centre lounge.
27 July 2020: From left, Tonique Andrews updates the daily schedule as Ramona Lamb looks on.
27 July 2020: From left, Tonique Andrews updates the daily schedule as Ramona Lamb looks on.
27 July 2020: Volunteer Craig Butler checks Janine Felix’s oxygen saturation level while Ruby Marais waits her turn.
27 July 2020: Volunteer Craig Butler checks Janine Felix’s oxygen saturation level while Ruby Marais waits her turn.
3 August 2020: Craig Butler entertains the care centre residents while they wait for their dessert.
3 August 2020: Craig Butler entertains the care centre residents while they wait for their dessert.
27 July 2020: ‘My dream career is to be a politician. I saw volunteering at the care centre... I took it as a way to help develop my people skills while working in an environment with different personalities for a common goal,’ said volunteer Eben Collins.
27 July 2020: ‘My dream career is to be a politician. I saw volunteering at the care centre… I took it as a way to help develop my people skills while working in an environment with different personalities for a common goal,’ said volunteer Eben Collins.
27 July 2020: From left, Ramona Lamb, her daughter and a friend enjoy the winter sun with centre volunteers Tonique Andrews and Eben Collins.
27 July 2020: From left, Ramona Lamb, her daughter and a friend enjoy the winter sun with centre volunteers Tonique Andrews and Eben Collins.
27 July 2020: From left, Eben Collins and Craig Butler investigate a commotion in the street outside the care centre. Butler is Ramona Lamb’s cousin and wanted to get involved to help the community. Some of Lamb’s neighbours were giving her a hard time about setting up the centre and Butler felt he could help explain to them why she had undertaken the project. Butler is a soccer coach who loves working with people and he used his people skills to win over most of Lamb’s neighbours.
27 July 2020: From left, Eben Collins and Craig Butler investigate a commotion in the street outside the care centre. Butler is Ramona Lamb’s cousin and wanted to get involved to help the community. Some of Lamb’s neighbours were giving her a hard time about setting up the centre and Butler felt he could help explain to them why she had undertaken the project. Butler is a soccer coach who loves working with people and he used his people skills to win over most of Lamb’s neighbours.
27 July 2020: Ramona Lamb and her son Kenzo glance through the window at Lamb’s daughter.
27 July 2020: Ramona Lamb and her son Kenzo glance through the window at Lamb’s daughter.
3 August 2020: From left, Eben Collins, Ramona Lamb, Teagon Klein and Meagan Steyn. Klein volunteered as the cook for the duration of the residents’ stay at the Ocean View care centre. ‘So I never knew what I'm getting myself into, but I’m not disappointed at all for joining the team. I love cooking and that's where my passion lies. Being creative in the kitchen is my speciality. I believe that you should always give someone the best and that's me when it comes to serving food. Being diagnosed with Covid-19 or waiting on your results causes you to worry a bit, but I believe a healthy meal, beautifully done, creates just a brighter atmosphere. Food is always a number one,’ said Klein.
3 August 2020: From left, Eben Collins, Ramona Lamb, Teagon Klein and Meagan Steyn. Klein volunteered as the cook for the duration of the residents’ stay at the Ocean View care centre. ‘So I never knew what I’m getting myself into, but I’m not disappointed at all for joining the team. I love cooking and that’s where my passion lies. Being creative in the kitchen is my speciality. I believe that you should always give someone the best and that’s me when it comes to serving food. Being diagnosed with Covid-19 or waiting on your results causes you to worry a bit, but I believe a healthy meal, beautifully done, creates just a brighter atmosphere. Food is always a number one,’ said Klein.
3 August 2020: ‘I feel very proud of them. Very proud. Because all that you can hear about Ocean View is the drugs and gangsterism. People don't see the good. So that's why I'm very proud of what these guys are doing … They are youngsters. They are offering up their free time,’ said Janine Felix.
3 August 2020: ‘I feel very proud of them. Very proud. Because all that you can hear about Ocean View is the drugs and gangsterism. People don’t see the good. So that’s why I’m very proud of what these guys are doing … They are youngsters. They are offering up their free time,’ said Janine Felix.
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