Spike in local cases

Sivanayagee Naik, of Minerva Road, Northdale died on Monday morning at St Anne’s hospital.
Sivanayagee Naik, of Minerva Road, Northdale died on Monday morning at St Anne’s hospital.

The number of Covid-19 infections in Pietermaritzburg is rapidly increasing with several businesses, shops and one of the city’s largest old-age homes all reporting positive cases.

Seventy-year-old Sivanayagee Naik, of Minerva Road, Northdale, was laid to rest early Tuesday morning after her remains were cremated on Monday. Naik, who tested positive for Covid-19, died on Monday morning at St Anne’s hospital.

Her two daughters, son-in-law and grand-daughter have all tested positive and are in isolation.

There was no funeral for Naik and none of her immediate family members could even disperse of her ashes due to them being in self-isolation.

Naik’s sister, Kogie Govender, said the ordeal was heartbreaking.

“This was the saddest thing we have had to endure. We were not allowed to see her in hospital. Her family was not allowed to be at her funeral. There was no funeral. She was taken straight from the hospital, to the undertaker and then cremated. We were given her ashes a day later in a sealed container that we buried in our family grave.

“No-one was allowed to be at the grave site. It was just her two other grand-daughters, my daughter and I. We don’t have closure and this will take us a long time to recover from,” said Govender.

Well-known pastor Quinton Aiyer and his family, who all tested positive on Tuesday, said he wanted his status to be known as he had been in contact with many people in the scope of his duty as a priest and community member. He said he has been feeling unwell for the past two weeks with flu-like symptoms but only went for a Covid-19 test on Monday, after a positive person that he had been in contact with informed him of his status.

“Had that person not told me he was positive, I would not have even considered going for a test. Now it turns out my entire family is positive. This is the reason why I am speaking about our status publicly as I don’t believe there should be a stigma attached to those who test positive.

“Letting someone know that you are positive will help prevent the spread of the virus. At least in this way, if that person has come in contact with you, and you cannot remember, they will know and get tested,” said Aiyer.

He said, as a pastor, he had conducted a funeral, services and had been involved in distributing community hampers and the co-ordination of the supplies and purchases for the hampers.

“I therefore owe it to the community to let them know about our status. It’s not an easy decision as I do know we will face some backlash but I would rather people be aware than have someone’s life on my conscience because I did not reveal my status,” he said.

Aiyer said his wife, Beverly, and daughters, Chloe (25) and Talitha (22) were self-isolating at their home. He and his wife were symptomatic with general flu-like symptoms while their daughters were asymptomatic.

Padca CEO Trevor Clowes confirmed on Tuesday that it had its first Covid-19 case at the Riverside Park Home. Clowes said they were working closely with the Department of Health and all contacts have been tested.

“These people are in self-isolation while they wait for their test results. Padca has sanitised the entire home and increased our nursing practices to full barrier nursing of residents showing symptoms or who are generally not well and are kept totally isolated,” said Clowes.

He said that Padca’s primary concern was the safety of the residents and they would do everything possible to ensure it.

The Northbury Park secondary school has closed after a teacher tested positive.

In a letter to parents, school principal L.E. Sha said the teacher had been at the school on Friday and urged pupils and to either test privately or at the school. Teaching and learning has been suspended indefinitely and pupils have to self-isolate.

An Edgar’s employee at the Liberty Midlands Mall has also tested positive.

Liberty Midlands Mall general manager Desmond Heunis said Edgars had sent all potentially exposed staff home to self-isolate while the store is disinfected. He said the store will re-open with the approval of the Department of Health. Relief staff will then be brought in to work at the store. Heunis said the mall would continue to trade in terms of lockdown regulations.

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