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I think I've had a 'close contact' with COVID-19, how do I know?

A number of factors can influence a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, including the type, proximity, and duration of their exposure, environmental factors (such as crowding and ventilation), vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection and mask use.

A close contact is defined as a person having had face-to-face contact (both persons not wearing any mask and less than 1 metre apart) or having been in a closed space (a space with no ventilation) with a confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 15 minutes. This contact would have happened while the person with COVID-19 was still “infectious”, i.e. from 2 days before displaying symptoms.

Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that should be taken to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, and don’t forget to always wash your hands and sanitise.

More information


I have symptoms, what should I do?

Not all clinical symptoms are necessarily indicative of COVID-19 infection. However, if you are concerned about any symptom, then please contact the national call centre for COVID-19 information (DOH Public Hotline number 0800 029 999, Western Cape Hotline 021 928 4102 or NICD Hotline 082 883 9920). Alternately, please contact your Healthcare provider either telephonically or via email for further advice and direction. Do not go to a medical facility without first calling ahead to get advice, unless it is an emergency situation. 


I have tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is required to report regularly to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and stakeholders, on the Integrated COVID-19 Implementation Plan, as well as cases of infection among staff and students.

To do this, the University has developed a template to collect information on positive cases of infection among students and staff CLICK HERE for COVID-19 template). Staff and students are required to complete the form, sign it, and send it via email to a dedicated COVID-19 email address ( 

Statistics will be collected and collated by the Registrar who will submit it to DHET every fortnight. Information provided will be treated with strict confidentiality.

Queries related to COVID-19 can be directed to the Contact Centre on 021 959 3900 or 021 959 2911 (switchboard).


1. Why are staff over 60 years old still working?

Any person who is considered to be at an increased risk of developing more complicated signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection are advised to remain in self isolation until it is deemed safe to return to normal activities – work included. It is now known that advanced age is a risk factor, and more especially if the person has any other chronic, coexisting medical conditions. Such persons must not present themselves to their normal work environment, but should endeavour to work from home as far as is possible. If you are between the age of 60 and 65 and have no other coexisting medical or risk factors and are in generally good health, then you can resume work after being advised to do so by a healthcare practitioner.

3. Why are staff with chronic diseases still working?

No person with a recognised and properly diagnosed chronic medical condition should be allowed to commence work in an environment that may facilitate them getting the COVID-19 infection. Any person who is considered to be at an increased risk of developing more complicated signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection are advised to remain in self-isolation until it is deemed safe to return to normal activities – work included. Such persons must not present themselves to their normal work environment, but should endeavour to work from home as far as is possible.




3. Process when staff gets sick while on duty?

Any staff / person who develops symptoms whilst on duty or on Campus must report this to his/her line manager or Reslife Coordinator. Please isolate yourself as best you can and call the UWC call centre (021 959 3900) or the UWC 24 Hour Emergency Line for further advice and instructions (021 959 2100). You can also call the UWC Campus Health & Wellness Centre for further direction (021 959 2876/5). Do not move around Campus or your office space and do not interact with any other person unless instructed to do so.


4. Will UWC transport staff to hospitals?

Depending on the circumstances; UWC shall make use of the Ambulance Service contracted to transport any medical emergencies to a medical facility.

5. When staff are found having high temperature?

Staff will be screened at the entrance to campus, and if their temperature is above normal they will be advised to return home and consult with their medical practitioners.

6. Will personal details of staff be shared?

No personal information of staff will be shared unless these are requested by mandated offices and with permission from individuals.

7. Are there any isolation/quarantine areas on campus?

There is no facility for staff on campus to self-isolate. The quarantine area is earmarked for students on residences.

The Western Cape Government has also provided quarantine facilities for people whose living conditions at home are not conducive - Western Cape Hotline 021 928 4102

South Africa's National State of Disaster was lifted as from 5 April 2022. As such, Health regulations have replaced disaster management regulations from 5 May 2022. The latest government communication in this regard can be found by clicking HERE.

Practical advice about self-isolation (as per NICD guidelines)

  • Patients instructed to self-isolate at home should adhere to the suggested measures below to reduce the risk of possible transmission to others:
  • Patients should avoid unnecessary travel and unnecessary contact with other people.
  • Where contact is unavoidable, the patient should wear a facemask, and maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (preferably 2 metres) from other people
  • Patients should clean their hands with soap and water frequently. Alcohol-based sanitizers may also be used, provided they contain at least 70% alcohol.
  • Patients should practice good cough and sneeze hygiene, by using a tissue, and then immediately discarding the tissue in a lined trash can, followed by washing hands immediately.
  • Patients should not have visitors in their home. Only those who live in their home should be allowed to stay.
  • At home, the patient should stay in a specific room and use his/her own bathroom (if possible). If they live in shared accommodation (university halls of residence or similar) with a communal kitchen, bathroom(s) and living area, they should stay in their room with the door closed, only coming out when necessary, wearing a facemask if they do so.
  • Patients should avoid sharing household items like dishes, cups, eating utensils and towels. After using any of these, the items should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water.
  • All high-touch surfaces like table tops, counters, toilets, phones, computers, etc. should be appropriately and frequently cleaned.
  • If patients need to wash laundry at home before the results are available, then they should wash all laundry at the highest temperature compatible for the fabric using laundry detergent. This should be above 60° C. If possible, they should tumble dry and iron using the highest setting compatible with the fabric. Disposable gloves and a plastic apron should be used when handling soiled materials, if possible, and all surfaces and the area around the washing machine should be cleaned. Laundry should not be taken to a launderette. The patient should wash his/her hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling dirty laundry (remove gloves first, if used).
  • Patients should know who to call if they develop any worsening symptoms, so that they can be safely reassessed. NICD: 082 883 9920 or 0800 029 999. Tygerberg Infectious Diseases Unit: 021 938 5229