Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

4 173 new cases detected as SA’s Covid-19 caseload inches closer to 800 000

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Dec 2, 2020

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Durban - For the first time in weeks, South Africa has recorded an increase of over 4000 new Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry confirmed that 4173 new cases had been detected in the last 24 hours, bringing the country's cumulative total to 796 472.

Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said 65 more deaths had been recorded.

He said four people had died in the Eastern Cape, 15 in the Free State, four in Gauteng, 12 in KwaZulu-Natal and 30 in the Western Cape.

This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 21 709.

Source: Department of Health

Source: Department of Health

Explaining testing data, Mkhize said from time to time, epidemiological centres undertake audits at various intervals to interrogate the efficiency of the data, clean up the data where necessary and implement improved systems for data collation. This vital process ensures that one maintains an accurate epidemiological picture, particularly when the situation is rapidly evolving as with Covid-19.

Mkhize explained that on November 27, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported the total cumulative number of tests conducted as 5 350 076.

"This was 33 002 tests less than what was reported the previous day. It is important to note that this change is related to testing numbers

and does not affect the daily positive case numbers. The NICD has, after consultation with the Incidence Management Team on Tuesday, submitted a report outlining the factors that led to this reduction in cumulative tests," he said.

The data source for testing data was changed to the Notifiable Medical Conditions Surveillance System (NMCSS) on November 27. The reasons for this change were:

• To align the reporting of test data with the source of case data

• To prepare for the inclusion of antigen-based tests, which will be reported into the NMCSS

• To enable reporting of district-level test data once the implementation of geocoding for test data was completed in the NMCSS

As part of data quality control, the following process ensued, which resulted in the reduction of testing numbers:

• Improvement in the process for identifying and removing duplications of the same test from the same patient

• Removal of samples that were collected outside of the country but tested in South Africa. This guarantees that the testing numbers only reflect South African samples (this ensures an accurate epidemiological picture in relation to the South African context )

The following table reflects the cumulative number of tests reported and the daily new tests that have been recorded on the database since we last reported on the testing data on November 26:

Source: Department of Health

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