Monday morning news started spreading about a new COVID-19 positive case in Govan Mbeki Municipality. This news proved to be false.
One source that “leaked” the information was a worker in the medical field that posted the information on Whatsapp groups. This should be treated as False or Fake news.
The Mpumalanga Department of Health posted new statistics on their platforms confirming the new case just to withdraw it the next morning without any explanation.
The news (fake) spread like wildfire and everybody started sending messages confirming the new case. As usual, The Bulletin reacted on the official confirmation from the Dept of Health but even that proved to be false also.
The rumour started to spread implicating Mediclinic Highveld in the process. People even pinpointed the ward that the new “patient” was in.
The Bulletin spoke to Mediclinic about the “new patient” to confirm the COVID-19 results.
Dr Stefan Smuts, Chief Clinical Officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa said in a statement to The Bulletin: “As of 1 March 2020, Mediclinic Highveld has performed 201 COVID-19 tests and can confirm that to date no patients have received a positive result. As a result, we do not have any COVID-19 related admissions.”
In strict accordance with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and National Department of Health protocols, Mediclinic Highveld has implemented the necessary measures to manage any patients testing positive with the virus and to prevent any potential transmission in our facilities.
Should any suspected COVID-19 patients require medical support from Mediclinic Highveld, these patients would be accommodated in an isolation unit, where our nursing staff are trained and equipped to manage the patient according to the level of care the illness requires.
“We continue to urge the public to take the necessary precautions by practising good hand hygiene, social distancing as well as adhering to lockdown requirements. We also encourage anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of the disease, such as shortness of breath, fever, sore throat, coughing or who believe that that they may have been exposed to the virus to contact their healthcare provider.” Concluded Dr Stefan Smuts.
The Bulletin would like to caution the new “reporters” that frequent the social media sites to refrain from spreading false news. Not only is this punishable but it also spreads unnecessary fear, panic and confusion. There are a lot of people that are trying to be first with the “news” but do not take the time to verify the facts first. Even we as journalists get it wrong sometimes. Read our post of yesterday, we reacted on official statements that were wrong and therefore reported that there was a person that tested positive for COVID-19.
Thank you to those that contacted The Bulletin to verify the facts first before sending their messages. That is how it should be done.
Stop spreading false news!