With 6 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in South Africa, bringing the total to 13, fears of contracting the disease are mounting across the country. From excessive hand-washing to panic-buying of soaps and sanitary products, South Africans are taking great precaution when it comes to combating the spread of COVID-19.
Now, Lancet Laboratories has introduced a coronavirus test on-demand, allowing concerned individuals to get tested independently. The test has a 48-hour turnaround time and is conducted with a simple sob of the mouth. However, individuals are required to have a referral from their doctor and will be pre-screened. “No self-referrals are accepted,” said a Lancet spokesperson. They will also need to present symptoms of the disease as well as a travel history and a list of people with whom they have been in contact.
Testing for now, even in private labs will be prioritised for individuals that fulfill epidemiological and clinical case definitions and only if referred by a doctor,” said Lancet.
The test will set potential patients back around R1400 – and it may not be covered by your medical aid scheme. Discovery has stated that if the test comes back negative, the cost will come out of a member’s savings account. Only if the test is positive, will they pay for everything from a special COVID-19 benefit.
Momentum has a similar sentiment. For confirmed coronavirus cases, they will cover all the costs of diagnosis as well as treatment.
Anyone who tests positive for the virus will be put in isolation at one of the hospitals designated to respond to the outbreak. You’ll remain there until tests show you no longer have the virus.
The NICD will then trace people who have been in close contact with the confirmed case. Anyone who could have come in contact with the patient in the week before they began to feel sick will be self-quarantined at home for 14 days as a precautionary measure. This includes everyone from family to health workers who may have seen the diagnosed individual. The NICD will closely monitor them for any symptoms of COVID-19.
The test will help facilitate early detection of the disease but more so, will help put people’s minds at ease and reduce the anxiety that has been rapidly spreading.