COVID-19: Staff Case Update


The number of staff members who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus at Nelson Mandela University has risen to 19, with four additional cases confirmed over the long weekend and an additional one today.

Three of these new cases, however, were among those staff members who had been quarantined earlier this month for their own safety and that of others. This decision was made in line with the University’s prevention and containment strategy to pro-actively halt any possibility of a rapid transmission of the virus.

All 19 staff members – 18 from Port Elizabeth and one from George - are doing well. In fact, eleven have fully recovered and will be returning to work shortly.

Their return will follow that of those whose quarantine period has also ended as they have shown no COVID-19 symptoms. Among their numbers were 47 staff members who were identified as contacts (see explanation below) and who screened negative. Only two contacts are currently still in quarantine.

The University’s health professionals will continue to engage with all these staff members, debriefing them, providing refresher COVID-19 prevention measures training, and access to emotional support and/or one-on-one counselling.

Returning Staff

Staff who have tested positive and recovered must follow an official return-to-campus assessment with Occupational Health Services before returning to full-time work on campus. Apart from official notification from a doctor or hospital, and a health assessment by the University health professionals, the individual is given the opportunity to access emotional wellness support.

The staff member’s line manager is also informed.


 A case investigation and “contact” tracing with regards to the work environment is undertaken in line with national guidelines and key strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 transmissions.

To achieve this the patient helps recall everyone with whom he or she has had close contact with during the timeframe that they may have been infectious. Contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them.

Contacts are then advised on what they should do to separate themselves from those who are not exposed and how to monitor themselves for symptoms. The University’s healthcare professionals undertake this responsibility as it is a specialised skill.

Time is of the essence in tracing contacts.

COVID-19 Online Self-Screening Tool

To support the efforts of the University in restricting the spread of COVID-19, all staff and students are encouraged to self-screen at least twice daily, especially if they are on any of the University’s campuses and residences (on and off campus), using the new COVID-19 Online Self-Screening Tool.

The link is:

All staff and students need to log in using their standard University username and password. Thereafter, you answer a series of short questions, at the end of which you will be given an outcome of low, medium or high risk.

Should you struggle to log in, please contact the University’s Helpdesk on extension 3000.

Please continue to practice all prevention measures, since this is our best defence in stopping the spread of the pandemic on our campuses.

Coronavirus Task Team