What to do if a loved one dies of Covid-19 at your home
Here are the rules gazetted by the Health Department on Monday and signed off by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
- If a loved one dies of Covid-19 at your home, you are not to touch the body.
- Their clothing can only be touched by someone wearing gloves.
- EMS (emergency medical service) must be called immediately to confirm death before removal by an undertaker.
- The belongings of the deceased person should be handled with gloves and cleaned with a detergent, followed by disinfection with a solution of at least 70% ethanol or 0.1% (1000ppm) bleach.
- Clothing and other fabric belongings of the deceased should be machine washed with warm water at 60-90 degrees and laundry detergent.
- The laundry should be rinsed with clean water and the linens should be allowed to dry in full sun.
- This is to reduce the chances of the coronavirus spreading to other members of the household.
- Any handling, transporting of Covid-19 victims’ bodies, should only be done by people wearing “suitable personal protective clothing at all times.”
- No person may at any given time make contact with, or touch, the mortal remains without wearing the appropriate PPE.
- A body bag should be used for transferring the body to the mortuary.
- Those handling the body at this point should use full PPE. The outside of the body bag and the trolley carrying the body must be disinfected.
- At the private mortuary it would be acceptable to open the body bag for family viewing, one at a time and only at the mortuary.
- Families must be provided with masks and gloves for the viewing and should not touch the body with bare hands.
- If the family wishes to dress the deceased, the may do so at the funeral undertakers premises, prior to the body being placed in the body bag and those carrying out the task should wear PPE’s, and all PPE’s used must be disposed of immediately.
- The funeral undertaker must deliver the mortal remains on the morning of the burial and not the night before, and must ensure that the remains are not touched during the viewing.
- Municipalities should ensure that burials or cremations of the deceased take place at “suitably approved” facilities
- Municipalities and District municipalities should ensure that they identify areas that may be utilised for mass burial, should the need arise.
Herewith the link to the Government Gazette/Staatskoerant
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