Positive Covid-19 cases at Evergreen Village

Evergreen Lifestyle Village has 14 Covid-19 cases.

A Muizenberg retirement village has 14 Covid-19 cases.

Two frail-care residents, 10 health-care workers and two staff at the Evergreen Lifestyle retirement homes have come down with the virus, according to Evergreen founder James Wilson.

He said Evergreen had kept Covid-19 out of its villages across the country for eight weeks of lockdown until now.

Mr Wilson said the Department of Health had advised the on-site Evergreen management team that individual care workers who tested positive should self isolate away from the retirement village.

“This Department of Health advice is imperative and intended to protect all the vulnerable elderly residents of nursing homes, as well as the remaining essential care health staff from becoming infected by this highly contagious virus,” he said.

“Nothing quite prepares your colleagues and health care workers for the results of a positive Covid-19 test. Our care workers were shocked and highly emotional at the sudden news of being tested positive. In hindsight, not enough time and care was taken by our management team to help our care workers to assimilate the test results. We very much regret this oversight and although all parties were emotional the situation should have been handled much better.”

Six of the workers had tested positive late on Thursday May 28, while a seventh had returned a positive result on Saturday May 30, and three more had tested positive on Sunday May 31.

“In the emotion of the moment certain health care workers elected to self isolate at home,” Mr
Wilson said. “This was not a wise decision as most workers were not able to self-isolate because they are living in structures in nearby Vrygrond and Khayelitsha.”

Social worker Loraine Moka, alerted ANC member of parliament Hishaam Mohamed about the situation. He has been
helping care homes throughout the Cape region relocate care workers who have tested positive into self isolation facilities provided by the province.

“The structures that they live in are not suitable for self-isolation. There would also be the concomitant risk of infecting family members at home,” he said.

Advocate Mohamed then contacted the Department of Health and arranged for the affected workers to be taken to a provincial government isolation centre, which is about 35km away from Evergreen.

Advocate Mohamed said: “I have spoken to James Wilson of Evergreen, and we are both in complete agreement on how a positive test for Covid-19
should be handled in future. Evergreen regret any stress that was caused to their health care
workers and they very much
look forward to welcoming them all back into their village upon their full recovery from this

Mr Wilson said it was very important to understand that it is not safe or possible for most care workers to self isolate.

“I advise all care facilities to prepare their management teams in advance for this eventuality, as the shock and emotion of the positive test results can cause
your health care staff to experience real trauma. A great deal of sympathy and empathy is required to help staff to deal with the initial shock,” he said.