Coronavirus – first case confirmed in South Africa

The National Department of Health (NDoH) has advised that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) has been reported in Kwa-Zulu Natal. To allay possible fears regarding cover for Medihelp patients, you can advise your clients of the following key factors to consider.

If your client presents with symptoms, what should they do?

Should a member present with flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulties, they should consult their doctor, especially if they have recently traveled to high-risk countries or have been in contact with travelers.

What will the doctor do?

The doctor will ask the member questions about their symptoms, people they have interacted with, any history of travel and their work and home environments. A blood test or saliva test may be done to confirm the diagnosis. Tests must be done by a state laboratory (as advised by the NDoH) and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) has confirmed that they have the capacity to perform diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Results are generally available within a few hours.

How will Medihelp be funding cases?
Medihelp will pay for doctors’ visits in terms of the benefit option of the member, as well as the costs for testing. Members admitted for COVID-19 will be covered in terms of the rules of their benefit options, and hospital groups have confirmed with Medihelp that protocols are in place to deal with these cases.
What will be funded as a prescribed minimum benefit (PMB)?
The diagnosis and management of uncomplicated coronavirus infection is not included in PMBs, but it may result in various complications such as pneumonia and kidney and multiple organ failure, which are eligible for PMBs.
Preventive measures

The virus is spread via coughing and sneezing, as droplets attach to surfaces and infect others. Important measures include:

  • Practising good hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water up to the elbow or using alcohol-based antiseptic hand sanitiser;
  • Disinfecting surfaces which are frequently touched, as viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours;
  • Avoid touching a surface and then your face;
  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from respiratory illness;
  • Delaying non-essential travel until the situation is resolved; and
  • Practising cough etiquette (i.e. covering your mouth and nose with a discardable tissue when you cough or sneeze).

Download this PDF for more information about the Coronavirus

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