COVID-19

DON’T PANIC, PREVENT

Protecting yourself from the COVID-19

In March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global pandemic. Since then, the coronavirus has swept the globe, infecting millions of people. With increasing cases of the disease in South Africa, concerns continue to grow.  For statistics on COVID-19 spread in South Africa and related government information, click here. View the latest global dashboard here.

Telephone:

0860 100 545 or 011 707 8400

Fax:

0861 113 676

Chronic Medication:

0861 700 600 Option 3

Claim submission:

Emergency number:

082 911

Stress Line

Telephone:

0861 700 600 (choose option 4)

Dedicated COVID-19 Information channels

Webchat: (8h00-15h00 Weekdays):

Frequently asked Questions

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

COVID-19 is diagnosed by a laboratory test, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) molecular test, on a respiratory tract sample (e.g. sample from nose, throat or chest). For specific guidance on sample collection and transport please visit the NICD’s website:
https://www.nicd.ac.za/diseases-a-z-index/covid-19/

What must I do if I believe that I have been exposed to the coronavirus?

If you believe that you have been exposed to the coronavirus or you are displaying symptoms of fever, tight chest, coughing, sore throat, muscle aches or other flu-like symptoms, please avoid contact with other people and contact your healthcare practitioner telephonically to ask how to be tested.

Your healthcare practitioner will advise you what to do next to get the care that you need.

Click here to see the correct process to follow.

If you cannot access your healthcare practitioner telephonically, contact the Public Hotline 0800 029 999, for further instructions.

Please be aware and respect each facilities’ prevention protection measures.  Click here to read about the Netcare Group’s prevention measures and what you should do when visiting their facilities.

Who is at higher risk of COVID-19 infection?

While anyone can get COVID-19, some groups of people are at more at risk than others and are most vulnerable to getting very sick from the virus. These include:

  • Older persons
  • People with a weakened immune system, including pregnant women
  • People with underlying chronic conditions like:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Respiratory illnesses
    • Kidney disease
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer
    • HIV
How can high-risk people protect themselves?
  • Avoid crowds and contact with sick people
  • Continue taking your prescribed chronic medication
  • Ensure that you obtain your chronic medication and refill script in time to minimise treatment interruptions
  • Get you flu vaccine, as soon as it becomes available
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Contact your healthcare provider telephonically before visiting their rooms
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider
  • Maintain a healthy immune system by eating fruit, vegetables and other foods with high nutritional value
  • Mask up when in public places to protect yourself
  • Inform your Manager at work that you are considered a high risk individual so that extra care and precautions can be considered
  • Be extra vigilant and follow the basic hygiene measures.
What is the international criteria that needs to be met for someone to be tested?

The current criteria is as follows:

The person has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient and the person is displaying symptoms of fever, tight chest and a sore throat, not attributable to any other disease.

OR

The person has travelled to a COVID-19 high-risk area within 14 days prior to symptom onset and the person is displaying symptoms of fever, tight chest and a sore throat, not attributable to any other disease.

OR

The person has acute severe respiratory infection, needs to be hospitalised and symptoms cannot be attributed to any other disease.

To see the appropriate testing guide for COVID-19, click here.

Testing at private laboratories

To ensure that the available capacity for testing is used in the most optimal way and that the patients who are at risk receive the clinical care that they need, only patients in the below categories will be tested in South African private laboratories, on referral by a health care professional:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Hospital in-patients
  • Pre-admission testing
  • Symptomatic outpatients
  • High risk patients with co-morbidities

Until further notice, no testing will be offered to the following patients:

  • COVID positive patients requesting retest after completion of the prescribed period of self-isolation
  • Asymptomatic out-patients and low risk contacts
  • Self-referred patients
  • Return to work screening for non-healthcare workers
  • Workplace prevalence screening
Will CAMAF pay for tests and treatment?

The current practice is as follows: (this is subject to change as national developments occur)

CAMAF will pay for the tests from benefits available if not a ‘person under investigation’ (PUI) and is allowed by NICD or the laboratory to be tested.

If it is for a ‘person under investigation’, it will be paid from Scheme risk.

If confirmed to be COVID-19, costs will be covered by CAMAF from the Scheme’s risk pool and not from member day to day benefits. (Tests will also be reprocessed from Scheme risk.)

Will the usual benefit option based exclusions apply for CAMAF members who contract COVID-19?

Your other exclusions still apply. If a member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it will be covered as a prescribed minimum benefit.

Will Network Choice members be able to be treated at an alternative provider should Netcare have a shortage of hospital beds?

The most appropriate provider to deal with the matter will be reimbursed.

What Must I Do If I Have Mild Symptoms Of COVID-19?

Do not call your local hospital.

80% of patients with COVID-19 will have no symptoms or have mild symptoms. Please consult your community GP if you need to be tested. Call your doctor first and arrange to be assessed, tested and treated out of hospital.

Any person who is tested is considered a ‘Person under Investigation’ (PUI). A PUI with no, moderate or mild symptoms is required to self-isolate until a negative result is obtained. Depending on symptoms, your doctor will guide your treatment plan.

This is in the best interests of your personal safety.

What Must I Do If I Have Moderate To Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19?

About 20% of patients with COVID-19 will experience moderate to severe symptoms, especially difficulty breathing. Patients in this category are likely to require hospital admission and are advised to call ahead to the Accident & Emergency Unit to arrange to be assessed.

Vaccination

As the pandemic continues, we are all becoming restless about access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines, considered one of the most important advances in modern medicine, have been responsible for greatly improving our quality of life over centuries, allowing us to reduce or eliminate many dangerous infectious diseases that we don’t even think about anymore.

To date, vaccine shortages have been the biggest hurdle. According to the Department of Health, enough vaccines have been procured from Johnson and Johnson as well as Pfizer to vaccinate the majority of the population before year-end in a phased approach. Vaccines cannot be procured directly from the manufacturers by any medical scheme or employer.

Who manages the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine strategy?

The Government is the sole purchaser of the COVID-19 vaccines at this point. It sources, distributes and oversees the rollout of the vaccine, both to the public and private sector. No medical aid or employer can procure the vaccine directly from the manufacturers.

What is South Africa’s vaccine strategy?

The vaccine rollout plan has changed from the original plan of vaccinating based on chronic conditions to an age-based plan. This approach has been successful in other countries and is supported by the fatality data. The vaccination of front line workers and people over 60 years of age is the first priority.

How do I register to get the vaccine?

The Government uses an electronic system, Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS), to keep track of everyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine. The administration of the vaccine is done through this system, where the population both public and private will have to self-enrol to be on the database or registry of people to be vaccinated.
You can register:

  • On the EVDS site
  • COVID WhatsApp number by sending ‘Register’ to 0600 123 456; or
  • SMS by dialling *134*832*ID number.

What happens after I have registered?

  • If you meet the registration criteria (currently over 60 years of age), an SMS confirming your registration will be sent from the EVDS.
  • When you are next in line for vaccination, you will receive an SMS with details of your vaccination appointment – date and the place where you will be vaccinated. Please ensure that you arrive on time and produce your medical aid card and a valid form of identification.
  • CAMAF members will have access to private facilities. Such facilities will bill CAMAF directly and the Scheme will pay such claims as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit.
  • The next age group to be vaccinated is expected to be the over 50s followed by the over 40s and so on. CAMAF will inform you as soon as these age brackets open up for registration.
Will CAMAF pay for the vaccine?

The Council for Medical Schemes announced that schemes need to fund the vaccine as a prescribed minimum benefit. Therefore, all schemes will have to fund the vaccine for their beneficiaries in accordance with the national governmental rollout plan. Even before this announcement, in the earlier part of 2020, CAMAF had already made its plan to fund the vaccine from the reserves known. We have all the infrastructure and reserves in place to have the vaccines administered as they are made available.

Do I also have to register with CAMAF for vaccination?

No; to reduce the administration burden for our members, CAMAF does not require duplicate registration for vaccination. You only need to register on the EVDS when you are eligible for vaccination.

Some of the large medical scheme administrators have made their buildings available as mass vaccination sites, which are available to the general public. Can I, as a CAMAF member go to any of these sites for vaccination?

Yes, if you are allocated to it. Your claim will be submitted to CAMAF for payment and CAMAF will settle with the vaccination site.

Which vaccine is the best and can I choose the vaccine to take?

All vaccines available from registered vaccination sites have been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). You will not be allowed to choose. This will depend on the available vaccine and the area that you live in. As a general rule Pfizer will be used in metro areas (requires two doses) and Johnson & Johnson in rural areas (one dose).

Some myths about COVID-19 vaccine

It is likely that you have heard claims about the COVID-19 vaccine on social media or from people in your life, which may increase your hesitancy about its safety or effectiveness. Below is our response to some of the circulating myths or burning questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?

There are different COVID-19 vaccines based on different manufacturing technologies.

One category of vaccine is based on a weakened adenovirus (a common virus that impacts the respiratory, gastrointestinal, eyes and in some cases urogenital systems) used to prime a person’s immune system to respond to another virus (e.g., AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson).

The second category is a nanoparticle vaccine that involves a delicate sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which means that it uses a laboratory-made version of the SARS-CoV-2 protein. This protein alone cannot make anyone sick. It initiates the body’s production of the protective antibodies (e.g., Novavax).

The third category uses pieces of human-made genetic material to mimic messenger RNA and instruct a person’s body to produce proteins that can fight a particular virus (e.g., Moderna, Pfizer). “Messenger RNA (mRNA) is found in all living cells. These strands of genetic code act as chemical intermediaries between the DNA in our chromosomes and the cellular machinery that produces the proteins we need to function: mRNA provides the instructions this machinery needs to assemble these proteins. However, mRNA isn’t the same as DNA, and it can’t combine with our DNA to change our genetic code.” – www.GAVI.org

The vaccine was developed so quickly. Can I trust it?

COVID-19 is a global public emergency. In such a pandemic it is necessary for the World Health Organization (WHO) to urgently assess the suitability and safety of novel health products for emergency use to halt the pandemic.

The Emergency Use Listing (EUL) procedure aims to make medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy, and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency and the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks. The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late Phase II and III clinical trial data and substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality and a risk management plan. The data is reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence regarding the vaccine under consideration, plans to monitor its use, and further studies. This process involves many countries and experts from individual national authorities are invited to participate in the EUL review.

The research did not start from scratch, as this is not the first coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus in the coronavirus family, which has been studied for many  ears. Through collaborative efforts, research was pooled, funding obtained, and trials fast-tracked as a result of the crisis caused by the pandemic.

Trials were run internationally and locally, which gives us insight into the vaccine’s behaviour in South Africa.

What are the consequences of not taking the vaccine?

At least 60% of the population needs to be vaccinated within a given timeframe to achieve herd immunity and stop the spread of the virus. Should many people choose not to receive the vaccine, the virus and its impact will be a reality for us to contend with for a lot longer.

Why is the use of Ivermectin not approved if it has shown results in trials?

Ivermectin trials are ongoing and have not been concluded. The product is currently approved for parasitic infections in animals and administered as an injection. If efficacy is proven, exceptions are approved for severe parasitic infections in humans, administered in tablet form.

The Department of Health and advisors from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have reviewed the available information and have concluded that there was no evidence submitted of superior outcomes in patients using Ivermectin.

The South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has stipulated that Ivermectin use for COVID-19 is not indicated nor approved for use in humans as there is no confirmatory data on the efficacy or evidence as yet. There have also not been any applications for the registration of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 in South Africa. SAHPRA has committed to fast track the review of any such application.

It is also essential for members to remember that the animal anatomy, physiology, etc., is not the same as those of human beings. Therefore, even if the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin can be confirmed; the final product for human consumption that uses a similar active ingredient will most probably be different from the animal product.

Read more about this here (South African National Department of Health) and here (SAHPRA)

Are COVID-19 death stats not over-reported? All deaths seem to be labeled as COVID-19.

CAMAF cannot verify national statistics but can state that the Scheme statistics are aligned with national statistics produced in terms of an increase in deaths. We believe that the statistics may be under-reported as deaths post COVID-19 infections caused by complications from the disease, for e.g. a heart attack or embolism, are not reported as COVID-19 deaths.

Will I be able to access private hospitals in case of emergency (COVID or other)?

Although private hospitals become very busy when infections increase. However, CAMAF members have not experienced problems in accessing hospitals. We receive regular updates from hospitals in terms of their occupancy.

FAKE NEWS AND MISINFORMATION CAN BE A BIG THREAT TO COVID-19 VACCINATION EFFORTS. Living in a digital world means that we have access to the latest information on just about any subject. While this can be powerful and empowering, it can also be harmful.

It is therefore very important that you get all your COVID-19 information from credible sources.

Preventative measures

Like any other infectious diseases, COVID-19 can spread through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. While the coronavirus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets, airborne transmission is also possible, particularly in indoor locations where there are crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces. WHO defines airborne transmission as the spread of an infectious agent caused by the dissemination of droplet nuclei (aerosols) that remain infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time.

To protect yourself against any potential infection, we encourage our members to keep germs at bay by following good personal hygiene habits at all times.

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Why? Washing your hands properly is the most important and effective way of killing viruses. Most infections are contracted when our germ infested hands come in contact with our mouths or through contact with other individuals whose hands may come in contact with us.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain and spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Getting early treatment will protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections. You must also stay home to rest and give yourself the best chance of recovery if you feel unwell.

Why? By coming to work when you are sick, you increase the risk of spreading illness to those around you.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about any virus outbreaks. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your department of health or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from the viruses.

Why? Healthcare providers are best placed to advise on what you should do to protect yourself.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least one metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? Droplets may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Wear cloth face mask when in public

Why? The National Department of Health has recommended that everyone should wear cloth face masks to cover your nose and mouth when going out in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The main benefit of everyone wearing a face mask is to reduce the amount of coronavirus or influenza virus droplets being coughed up by those with the infection. Since some people with coronavirus may not have symptoms or may not know they have it, a face mask will protect people around you if you are infected. The mask will also help to protect yourself from airborne transmission. Click here to learn how to make your own cloth mask.

Have you travelled to a high-risk COVID-19 area recently?

Are displaying symptoms of fever, tight chest and/or coughing? Contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Useful links and contacts

Employer Toolkit








































Member Toolkit


































Family Toolkit
























Multiply Updates and Info

Your health and wellness will always be our top priority. CAMAF’s official Wellness Partner is Multiply – a wellness and rewards programme that helps you make the right choices so that you can live a better, healthier life. To keep track of all Multiply and lockdown-related info, click here.

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Statements By President




 

From the desk of the President:

13 July 2020
06 July 2020
29 June 2020
22 June 2020
15 June 2020
08 June 2020
01 June 2020
25 May 2020
18 May 2020
11 May 2020
04 May 2020
27 April 2020
20 April 2020
13 April 2020
06 April 2020
30 March 2020
23 March 2020
16 March 2020
09 March 2020
02 March 2020

COVID-19 public helpline 0800 029 999

Send the word ‘HI’ to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp

Simple precautions can make a big difference and everyone has a role to play.

Do your part to stop the spread of diseases

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