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.
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.
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.