A Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) driver has tested positive for Covid-19, its spokesperson said on Thursday.
Marike Gevers said the staff member – who is based in Pinelands, Cape Town – showed symptoms on 17 April and it was confirmed on Wednesday he had Covid-19.
Following National Institute for Communicable Diseases and provincial Department of Health guidelines, contact between the employee, staff members and other possible interactions were assessed by the WCBS as low-risk exposures.
Staff members, who were in contact with the employee, will be self-monitoring for the 14-day period after their last contact with the driver.
“The monitoring protocol includes twice-daily temperature checks, and symptom assessment.
“Procedures are in place for all staff displaying any potential symptoms suggestive of respiratory infections or Covid-19 illness, and they will be referred to their doctor immediately,” said Dr Gregory Bellairs, the CEO and medical director of the WCBS, in a statement.
The blood service said all its vehicles were sanitised by its drivers, and face masks were provided for all staff, including drivers and passengers.
“The amount of passengers in all WCBS vehicles is limited according to government guidelines to reduce risk,” the statement said.
“In addition, measures have been introduced at blood donation clinics to ensure the pre-screening of blood donors, social distancing, and universal precautions for the blood donor community.
“The WCBS would like to assure blood donors and the public that it is safe to donate blood and it remains crucial that we continue to supply the Western Cape with safe and sufficient blood during this extremely challenging time.”
Last month, the blood service said respiratory viruses, in general, were not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted coronavirus.
Routine blood donor health assessment measures that are already in place will prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood.
“For example, blood donors must be in good health on the day of donation, and be negative for any risk factors surveyed by the blood donor questionnaire,” a statement said.
As a precaution, the WCBS requests people to refrain from donating blood if they have:
– Recently returned from travel outside of South Africa’s borders.
– Lived with individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having Covid-19.
– Been diagnosed with or suspected of having Covid-19.