Coronavirus (COVID-19): What you need to know
Lockdown coping tips
Challenge your kids to a LEGO build-off to keep them busy, let you spend quality time together and develop your creativity.
Dump a pile of LEGO blocks on a table or the floor and challenge your kids (or even your older housemates) to build whatever they can think of within a limited time period of 5 or 10 minutes.
What are the rules?
There should be no rules or boundaries that can limit your creativity.
Share pics of everyone’s creations with friends on social media and ask them to vote for a winner, who will have bragging rights.
Manage your anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis
In these times of uncertainty, you may experience feelings of anxiety, fear and loneliness. Concerns about your own health, your loved ones’ health and your job or finances are valid worries for everyone. The time in lockdown can however also be used positively.SA's COVID-19 website
Statistics in RSA
Total positive cases: 1 845
(last updated 8/4/2020)
Continuation of services during the nationwide lockdown
Government has announced a national lockdown on Monday, 23 March 2020 that will be effective for 21 days from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday, 16 April 2020. The lockdown follows a steep increase in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 and is a necessary step to decrease the rate of infection through enforced social distancing, which has proven to be an effective measure to decrease transmission.
Since medical schemes are included in the published list of enabling services, Medihelp will continue to render a service to our stakeholders. We have however implemented additional precautionary measures to protect the health of our employees for the 13 working days spanning the lockdown period. Through careful planning, we have put contingency measures in place by equipping certain employees to work from home and ensure the continuation of essential business processes in order to safeguard the viability of the Scheme. We will also rotate staff who are required to work onsite. In addition, we have temporarily closed our walk-in service counter at our head office based in Arcadia, Pretoria and changed our Call Centre hours to 7:30 to 16:00 on Mondays to Fridays until further notice.
We encourage stakeholders to make use of our secured self-service platforms, including the Member Zone and the member app, the Adviser Toolbox and the secured website for healthcare practitioners, all of which offer a wealth of functionalities to meet service needs during this time.
Please be assured that Medihelp will do its utmost to continue to support you in the best possible way during these trying times.
Guided by Government’s declaration on Sunday, 15 March 2020 of the COVID-19 outbreak as a national disaster and in support of the measures announced to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection, Medihelp will provide comprehensive
cover at the scheme tariff in and out of hospital for testing and treatment costs of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A functionality is available on the Member Zone for members who have tested positive for COVID-19 to upload proof of their pathology results, doctor’s consultation and medicine prescription.
Telephone and video consultations
To accommodate members who are unable to visit a general practitioner or specialist during this time (for any reason), Medihelp will provide benefits for telephone/video consultations at 100% of the Medihelp tariff, subject to available day-to-day benefits of members.
With winter just around the corner, getting the annual flu vaccination once it becomes available remains important to protect members against flu. Medihelp beneficiaries older than 55 years who are registered on Medihelp’s chronic medicine programme for asthma/COPD also have access to the preventive Pneumovax vaccine (available in a 5-year cycle). Members can consult their benefit guide on the Member Zone for more information about their benefits for these preventive measures.
Non-essential medical procedures
We strongly advise against undergoing any non-essential medical procedure in order to alleviate the pressure on healthcare service providers and to assist in ensuring the delivery of essential life-saving services to those in need. It may also decrease the chances of members to be exposed to the virus.
Questions and answers
- What is the first point of contact if I become sick?
Phone the COVID-19 hotline on 0800 029 999, your general practitioner or local clinic.
- What are the benefits for testing on my option?
Medihelp will provide comprehensive full cover in and out of hospital for testing and treatment costs of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- If your test is positive, please upload proof of your pathology results, doctor’s consultation and medicine prescription on Medihelp’s Member Zone .
- If your test is negative, Medihelp will cover these costs in terms of your available benefits.
- I am not sick but my employer asks that I go for a test as I was travelling overseas. What will the benefit be?
Unnecessary testing is discouraged. Rather phone the COVID-19 hotline on 0800 029 999, your general practitioner or local clinic if you are required to undergo testing. Medihelp will provide comprehensive full cover in and out of hospital for testing and treatment costs of confirmed COVID-19 cases, whilst other tests will be funded from your available benefits.
- Does Medihelp cover vitamins to prevent me from becoming ill with the corona virus?
Vitamins will not prevent you from contracting the coronavirus, whilst precautionary measures such as frequent handwashing with soap and water and social distancing will help prevent you contracting the virus.
If your option provides for day-to-day benefits, single vitamins such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are covered either by your day-to-day acute medicine benefit or the savings account.
- Does Medihelp pay for a thermometer to take your temperature?
Thermometers are for your own account.
- If I go to a laboratory without a doctor’s referral, what will the benefits be?
Pathology tests will only be considered for benefits if requested by a medical practitioner.
- I would like to get my medicine in advance for a period of three months to be able to stay in quarantine. Is it possible?
Medicine provided in advance is not covered as this is not in the best interest of a patient’s health and safety. Please remember that medicine can be couriered from local pharmacies and courier pharmacies within the Medihelp preferred pharmacy network if you are unable to collect medicine. If your benefit option requires that you obtain medicine from a specific provider, please adhere to the arrangement and consult the provider for your refill prescription and collection.
About the virus
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) belongs to the same family as the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. People with COVID-19 have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing when it affects their lungs
and causes pneumonia.
There is no vaccine against the virus available yet nor is there any specific treatment for the infection. Symptoms may vary from only mild to more severe, depending on the overall health of the person. Older people or those with more serious health problems such as cancer, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, HIV/Aids and renal failure may experience breathing difficulties or develop pneumonia and will require intensive care. Fortunately, the virus has a high recovery rate.
How COVID-19 spreads
- An infected person can spread the virus to others through close contact. It is recommended to keep a distance of approximately 1m from a person displaying symptoms of the virus.
- The virus is spread through droplets when an infected person coughs and sneezes.
It is also possible that COVID-19 can spread through touching an object or surface containing the virus (such as a door handle or telephone) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Since there is no vaccine against the virus yet, the best way to prevent getting sick is to limit your exposure to the virus and follow these preventive measures:
- Delay or avoid travelling to areas that are experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people displaying symptoms of influenza or coronaviruses.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands frequently up to the elbow with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then dispose of it safely.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning product. Viruses can survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on the type of surface and the temperature.
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to seasonal flu and appear within three to 14 days after infection. Some people experience no symptoms at all, but the most common symptoms include headache, a runny nose or sneezing, a cough or sore
throat, muscle pain or body aches, fatigue, and a feeling of general discomfort, uneasiness or pain (malaise).
Occasionally, COVID-19 can cause serious or life-threatening symptoms such as a very high fever (above 38 °C), a severe cough and shortness of breath (often indicating pneumonia) or sepsis.
Who is at risk and what should you do if you suspect that you have been exposed?
Who is at risk?
- People who lived in or travelled to a country or area where the virus is prevalent.
- People who have had close contact within the last 14 days with a person who has the virus.
What should you do in the event of exposure?
- Phone your local doctor or clinic. They will tell you where to go to be tested for the virus.
- If you need to go to a clinic or hospital, inform them beforehand of your visit.
- Wear a face mask and avoid personal contact with other people.
- Inform everyone with whom you have been in contact that you are displaying symptoms of the virus.
- Isolate yourself as a precautionary measure while awaiting the test results and ensure that your symptoms are monitored.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, and practise good hand hygiene.
- Avoid sharing personal household items with other people.
- Clean all frequently touched surfaces regularly.
- Remain in isolation until doctors deem it safe for you to be in public again.