Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Professor Francis Petersen, has issued a message to staff and students confirming the first positive case of Covid-19 stating that it was reported on Monday 23 March 2020.
According to Peterson, the individual, who works as a temporary employee on the Bloemfontein Campus, stays off campus and is now in self-isolation for the next two weeks.
“The Provincial Department of Health has confirmed the case through the prescribed protocol. Contact tracing has already begun to identify people who were in close contact with the person; they are all asymptomatic and in quarantine at home and are being monitored. The necessary communication was done with the staff in the department where the individual is working; the department and the building in which it is situated have been closed,” said Petersen.
He added that the university was committed to maintaining confidentiality in relation to the medical conditions of its staff and students. “As with any other disease, people who are ill with Covid-19 have a right to privacy. Last week, the university’s executive management put preventative measures in place to minimise the risk of Covid-19 to staff and students by suspending the academic programme and reducing the number of staff present on our campuses without compromising university operations.”
The university stated that a comprehensive message relating to the President’s announcement regarding the lock down will be shared with the university community on Tuesday 24 March 2020.
“I encourage you to look after yourselves, to stay safe and to follow basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of the disease, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, using hand sanitisers and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when sneezing or coughing. If you experience any symptoms associated with Covid-19, such as fever, tiredness, dry cough or shortness of breath, call the hotline of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) at 0800 029 999, ” added Petersen.
“Please visit the UFS’s Covid-19 webpage with all the relevant information regarding the pandemic. Other communication platforms include the official ufs4life email address for students; social media; SMS, the KovsieApp, Intranet, Blackboard, as well as the Newsflash.”
“We wish our affected colleague a speedy and full recovery, and strength to all during the quarantine period,” concluded Petersen.