Matric rage has now been labelled as a Super Spreader event and it could be one of the reasons South Africa's numbers have increased in the last week.
Photo Cred: Ballot Rage Official Facebook Page

The Ballito Matric Rage has now been labelled as a Super Spreader event and it could be one of the reasons South Africa’s numbers have increased in the last week.

 

Johannesburg, South Africa (06 December 2020) – Doctors are urging teenagers who attended the Super Spreader Rage parties in KwaZulu-Natal to quarantine after many of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

A Super Spreader event has been defined as a situation where a single person has the potential to pass on the virus to more than eight people at a gathering.

While concerns were raised about the annual Rage festivals being possible COVID-19 Super Spreader events, thousands of matric pupils still flocked down to the KwaZulu-Natal coast and coincidentally, South Africa’s positive test results are on the rise again.

Ballito Rage kicked off from 27 November 2020 to 4 December 2020 in Ballito, Umhlanga and Durban. Other Rage events that were planned but have since been postponed include the Johannesburg leg on 12 and 13 December, Jeffery’s Bay on 15 to 22 December and Plett Rage from 29 January 2021 to 6 February 2021.

According to Times Live, Dr Kamz Govender, who works in the Upper Highway area west of Durban, said the number of requests for COVID-19 tests in the past 48 hours had been overwhelming.

“The past 48 hours has been overwhelming as a practitioner in the Upper Highway area with an influx of teens requiring Covid-19 PCR tests. This has been largely due to them attending the annual matric Rage event over the last week and having multiple friends who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Over the past two days, we noted that 95% of the teenagers who tested, were found to be Covid-19 positive, and even more worrying is that almost all were asymptomatic.

Usually, youngsters have a robust immune system and recover very quickly with minor or no symptoms, however, this age group also tends to socialize in large groups & this will most certainly increase the spread of the virus during the festive period. (Super spreader Events).

I have received several calls from concerned parents on a way forward and my advice would be to all teens who attended the Rage 2020 event, to be treated as high-risk exposures and therefore as per NICD guidelines, they will need to quarantine for the next two weeks in order to control the spread of this highly infectious virus which can be fatal if passed on to a family member with co-morbid conditions as well as the elderly.

This definitely has the potential to overburden our healthcare system in KZN over the next few weeks.

I urge our youth to make responsible decisions and act consciously by minimizing your movement.
As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first time that the prognostic outcome of a disease is placed in the hands of every South African because each person is a potential carrier and the rate of transmission is directly related to human contact.”

Howard  Feldman chatted to Dr Sheri Fanaroff about the festival.

“There is a real concern about the kids returning from Matric Rage. There has been a significant COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier this morning I chatted to Dr Sheri Fanaroff who kindly put together important guidelines for those returning. Please be guided, and let’s be safe.” – Howard Feldman.

Guidelines for Matriculants returning from Rage.

These are my suggestions on how to slow down the spread of COVID-19 with Matrics returning from the super spreading event. Please confirm all medical advice with your own GP.

If you are symptomatic and still in Umhlanga:

  • Try to get tested to confirm if you are positive.
  • Assume that you have COVID if you have any symptoms. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, headache, fever, chills, body pain, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea.
  • You need to ISOLATE for 10 days.
  • If you want to return to Joburg and have symptoms, you CANNOT board a plane knowing you are positive. You will need to drive home or isolate in Umhlanga. The person driving the car will become a contact. To minimize risk – both the driver and the patient should wear a surgical / N95 mask in the car. Keep the windows open. Infected Matric should sit in the back seat on the opposite side of the car to the driver. All car windows should be open.

If you are asymptomatic (have no symptoms) and are still in Umhlanga:

  • You need to Quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.
  • If you have the funds and access to a test, I would suggest having a test.
  • Regardless of a positive or negative test result, if you have attended Rage parties, you are a high-risk contact and need to quarantine for 10 days.
  • If you wish to return to Joburg, the ideal is to travel by car so as not to infect others on a plane. See advice from above for travelling by car.

If you are not a known close contact and do travel home by aeroplane:

  • You need to be extremely cautious on the plane and at home in case infected and contagious to others.
  • Wear two masks or surgical mask / N95 mask if you have.
  • Open-air vents over seats.
  • Try to stay as far away from people as possible.
  • Sanitise hands often.
  • In the car on the way home from the airport, only one person should fetch; wear masks and keep windows open; Matric should sit in the back of the car on the opposite side to the driver.
  • Once home, you need to quarantine (in your room to protect your family) for at least 10 days (14 days ideal).

If you have any symptoms and are now at home:

  • Contact your doctor and go for a COVID test.
  • Assume you are positive anyway and isolate for ten days.
  • Symptoms include sore throat, cough, headache, fever, chills, body pain, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea.
  • If COVID test is positive, notify your contacts, notify the COVID app, and get advice from your GP regarding any medications, recommended vitamin regime and how to monitor symptoms including temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen levels.

If you are asymptomatic and back at home:

  • Even if you are unaware of being a definite close contact, you have been at a superspreader event and need to quarantine for a minimum of ten days.
  • If you have access to have a test, I would suggest testing, even if you have no symptoms.
  • If you test positive, contact your doctor for advice and follow step 3 above.
  • You could have a second test on day 7 if your first test is negative and you remain without symptoms.

I cannot stress enough the need for Matrics who have been at Rage to take responsibility and take quarantine seriously regardless of having symptoms or positive/ negative tests. While teens are likely to have mild or asymptomatic infections, the impact of this on the broader South African community if they travel around the country spreading the virus as they go is disastrous!

For the entire community, please apply safe practices by washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and avoiding crowds and gatherings.


Sources: Dr Sheri Fanaroff | Howard Feldman | Super Spreader
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