The Western Cape Health Department has revised its Covid-19 testing criteria following the drop in infections, according to head of health Keith Cloete. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
The Western Cape Health Department has revised its Covid-19 testing criteria following the drop in infections, according to head of health Keith Cloete. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

These are the six new Covid-19 test categories being used in the Western Cape

By Mwangi Githathu Time of article published Sep 17, 2020

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Cape Argus - The Western Cape Health Department has revised its Covid-19 testing criteria following the drop in infections, according to head of health Keith Cloete.

Cloete told the legislature’s ad hoc committee on Covid-19 that as of last week the department had added six new categories in the increased testing.

“The revised testing criteria now includes the pre-operative of testing asymptomatic patients, natural cause deaths at home, public sector essential workers – and here I mean not just healthcare workers but groups like the police,” he said.

“We are also going to be testing prisoners with symptoms. In schools we will now test both learners and staff with symptoms, and at workplaces we will test workers with symptoms. This is quite an important thing that we have started … there’s been an increase in the numbers we’ve been testing since last week.”

Committee chairperson Mareille Wenger congratulated Cloete and his department.

“Our last meeting was good news and today is even better news. We have been under 3 000 active cases for several weeks now, which is a very good place to be, even after we have eased restrictions,” said Wenger.

There were several questions from the committee about the benefits of serological testing.

Cloete said the testing is to look for antibodies in blood, indicating prior infection. “There is not much benefit to individuals but they are of great importance to researchers to show how Covid-19 affected a certain area. About 2 700 tests have been conducted on residual specimens of primary care antenatal and HIV patients coming for routine pregnancy and HIV blood tests,” he said.

Cloete, though, said there was no clear indication of a possible second wave of the pandemic in the province.

“The pattern of inequality and spatial geography might result in ongoing risks differing extensively by location and socio-economic status. There are not, as yet, reliable tools to predict the likelihood, location or timing of future resurgence (so) ongoing surveillance is the key,” he added.

Cape Argus

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