Close contacts of Grey College learner traced

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The Free State Departments of Health and Education have begun a contact tracing operation after a matric learner at Grey College in Bloemfontein tested positive for Covid-19.

While the learner, who stays at one of the hostels at the school, remains quarantined, people who may have been in contact with him are being traced.

According to provincial education spokesperson Howard Ndaba, the boy’s grandparents and other close contacts are to be screened as part of the operation.

“Close contacts of the learner who are at school are already subjected to quarantine. This is while doing everything according to health protocols to trace all close contacts of the learner from Pietermaritzburg in KZN including his grandparents in Bloemfontein,” he stated.

The school remains open while areas that the matriculant interacted in have been closed off.

According to Grey College marketing liaison person Marzaan Venter, learners who stay at hostels were regularly screened since their arrival on Sunday. However, the affected learner showed symptoms of Covid-19 including coughing and a bad headache on Tuesday morning. He tested positive for the virus later that day.

Free State Health MEC, Montseng Tsiu, explained during a briefing on the reopening of schools, this week that contact tracing has been an effective way of avoiding severe outbreaks of Covid-19 in the province.

“If the virus is not contained, there is danger that it will spread like wildfire. Today, we have a better understanding of how the virus works and active contact tracing has been important in avoiding rapid spreading,” she said.

“The joint teams of Education and Health working with staff at Grey are ensuring that as the contacts are rounded up, all the Covid-19 protocols are followed to ensure that adequate infection prevention control measures are in place,” added Ndaba.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za