In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, Palm Tree Clinic would like to share relevant and pertinent information to keep our community up-to-date and well-informed. Please visit the South African coronavirus news and information portal for accurate updates, news and information on the pandemic from the Department of Health. 


Below are some FAQs with regards to Palm Tree Clinic's policy during the  the coronavirus pandemic: 

What is the case definition that identifies a COVID-19 infection?

Palm Tree Clinic uses the case definition as provided by the South African Department of Health to identify a COVID-19 infection. The below definition is used when screening patients for COVID-19 while admitted or prior to admission. Case definition for COVID-19 Persons with acute respiratory illness with sudden onset of at least one of the following: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or history of fever equal to or greater than 38 degrees C (measured or subjective) AND In the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms, met at least one of the following epidemilogical criteria: Were in close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 infection OR Had a history of travel to areas with presumed ongoing COVID-19 OR Worked in or attended a healthcare facility where patients with COVID-19 were being treated OR Admitted to a facilityy/hospital for severe pneumonia of unkown cause

What is the current policy on visitors to the clinic?

Due to the 21-day lockdown mandated by the government taking effect on 26 March 2020 at 23:59, no visitation will be permitted from 27 March 2020 until 17 April 2020. Patients will be given access to Palm Tree Clinic’s wifi which they can use to call/video call friends and family. Furthermore, Palm Tree Clinic management has mandated that no person is allowed entry onto the premises unless they have had their temperature checked. This is a requirement for everyone including all staff, providers, couriers, newly admitted patients, etc. If someone wants to enter Palm Tree Clinic, they will need to ring the bell/intercom and state who they are and the nature of their visit to the on-duty staff. The on-duty staff member will meet the person at the gate at a safe 2m distance and take their temperature. If their temperature is 38 degrees C or more, they will not be permitted to enter Palm Tree Clinic and will be advised to seek medical attention. Should theysuspect they have COVID-19, they are advised to self-quarantine and contact the NICD hotline.If their temperature is below 38 degrees C, they will be permitted onto thepremises but will be required to immediately wash their hands and apply sanitizer both upon entry and exit.

What current measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Hand hygiene is the most essential aspect when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Subsequently, Palm Tree Clinic has adopted measures in order to ensure that this is regularly enforced.

These measures include:

1. Placing signage and hand sanitizers all around the hospital (including communal areas, the front door, the nursing station, the group room as well as patient rooms) in order to encourage everyone (patients, staff, visitors and providers) to regularly wash their hands and apply hand sanitiser. 2. Modifying the group room by:
  • Placing a hand hygiene sign and hand sanitizer at the entrance of the group room.
  • Placing chairs at least 1m apart to minimize contact between patients and facilitators.
  • Placing a box of tissues and hand sanitizer in the centre of the group room.
  • Requesting that patient’s each have their own pen and that they do not share.

Group facilitators also remind patients about:

  • Pen policy: all patients need to bring their own pen to group sessions and these should not be shared.

  • Cough/sneeze etiquette (that is, patients should cough/sneeze into their elbow/arm or a tissue). Tissues must be disposed of IMMEDIATELY and not left lying around.

  • Social distancing and avoiding direct physical contact (including handshakes) with other patients or people.

  • Avoiding contact with their face, nose, mouth or eyes.

  • Regular hand washing and good hand hygiene. This includes reminding patients to wash their hands and apply hand sanitizer before and after each group session.

  • Avoiding contact with communal surfaces such as door handles, cupboard/drawer handles, taps, etc. Should contact need to be made, patients should be encouraged to clean them with disinfectant and to immediately wash their hands after contact.

Palm Tree Clinic and our staff have also stepped up our cleaning protocols. In addition to regular cleaning of all areas with hospital-grade detergents, Palm Tree Clinic has also introduced the following measures:

  1. Hourly cleaning of high contact areas such as counter tops, tables. door and cupboard handles, floors and hand banisters.

  2. Thorough washing of all shared cutlery, crockery and glasses in line with CDC as well as WHO recommendations.

Given the nature of spread, social distancing has been advised by health authorities and subsequently, Palm Tree Clinic has adopted a blanket rule of a 2m space requirement between all patients, providers and staff at all times. Nursing staff and doctors are the only exception – they will be allowed to come into contact with patients to administer medication or to give care, but both the patient and nurse or healthcare practitioner must wash and sanitise their hands both prior to and after the interaction.

The following rules will be set in place for social distancing purposes:

  1. If there is not sufficient space for patients to eat in the dining room with 2m between them on all sides, patients will be required to eat in their rooms or in the recreational areas. On-duty staff are to meticulously take note of the number of utensils leaving with patients when eating and ensure that the same number are returned immediately after eating.

  2. Physiotherapy sessions will be cancelled until further notice in an effort to minimize patient-provider contact. Only urgent physiotherapy will be allowed, with patients having to sign a disclaimer.

  3. If there is not sufficient space for patients to have 2m between them on all sides in the group therapy room, the group therapy will be moved to the zen garden. If it is not weather-permitting to be in the zen garden, group therapy sessions should be held virtually using Google Meet or Zoom

  4. Patients must be made aware that they are required to keep a 2m distance from one another at all times in ALL communal areas, including the recreational spaces such as the lounge, smoking areas, gym room, etc.

  5. Current inpatients will also not be allowed day leave for the time being.

Does Palm Tree Clinic do testing for COVID-19 for admitted patients?

No, the collection of samples for COVID-19 testing cannot be done at Palm Tree Clinic's premises as we do not have the required aerosol precautions (PPE) equipment. Any case required for testing will be referred to the nearest testing center. Testing is only completed in symptomatic cases who meet the case definition for COVID-19.

Is Palm Tree Clinic still open and accepting admissions?

Yes, Palm Tree Clinic remains open for the time being, and is still accepting admissions. We have adopted more stringint hygiene principles as well as taken additional safety meaures in line with the Department of Health and WHO's recommendations. Self-presenting patients are asked to not come to Palm Tree Clinic's premises to request admission, but rather to contact us via telephone or email first. Any potential admissions will have to complete a screening questionaire as well as have their temperature checked prior to being considered for admission at the clinic. Only those whose temperatures are below 38 degrees celsius will be considered for admission. Anyone who currently feels unwell, thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19 or suspects they may be infected is requested to please stay home, contact NICD and self-isolate for at least 14 days. Palm Tree Clinic will remain open and will continue to accept admissions until instructed otherwise by the Department of Health. However, if someone in the facility tests positive for COVID-19, Palm Tree Clinic will close its doors to ensure the saftey of all patients, staff and providers. In this case, current patients will be immediately discharged either back home or to another facility that is equipped to deal with infectious diseases. All patients, staff members and providers will also be referred for further testing and management and will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days while keeping a close eye on their health.