What you can do if you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 and are recovering at home

Woman self-isolating at home.
Woman self-isolating at home.
Ruslan Dashinsky/Getty Images

As the number of coronavirus cases increase in South Africa, more and more people who have tested positive for the virus and are not experiencing severe symptoms are being sent to self-isolate in their homes due to the shortage of beds in hospitals.

The surge of Covid-19 has placed so many families in difficult predicaments of how to protect members who are negative while quarantining at home.

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If you have tested positive or a family member is currently self-isolating at home, and are wondering how to keep the rest of the family safe, below is a list of measures to curb the spread of the virus.


Social distance If a member of the family has tested positive and is self-isolating at home, other members must begin practising social distancing immediately. However, if members of the family begin to experience symptoms, contact a GP who might advise testing.

Bedroom The member in isolation must also sleep in a separate room. Create a “sick room” in your home if possible. This room must be cleaned daily with bleach and whoever cleans the room must wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment)

Bathroom If there is more than one bathroom in the house, the infected person should use a separate bathroom. This is because a study in Wuhan, China, conducted in April and printed in the bioRxiv journal showed significant positive Sars-CoV-2 swabs from bathrooms in a hospital. The bathroom must be cleaned daily with disinfectant. If the family needs to share a bathroom, the surfaces need to be sterilised after each use.

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Meals The affected patient should eat in his/her room, using separate cutlery and crockery that are washed separately. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with dishwashing liquid and hot water, or in a dishwasher.

Laundry Laundry must be done separately with the person doing the laundry wearing appropriate PPE. Hot water kills the coronavirus on clothes, so clothes can be re-introduced into the family after washing.

Currently, 2 232 738 Covid-19 tests have been conducted in SA – with 298 292 positive results, 146 279 people have recovered and 4 346 people have died.

For more information on how to protect your loved ones while quarantining at home, visit the department of health’s website.

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