50 more Covid-19 deaths in SA, over 18 000 recoveries
Cape Town – There have been 50 more Covid-19-related deaths in South Africa, which brings the total deaths to 755.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Tuesday that there have been 18 313 recoveries, which translates to a recovery rate of 51.1%.
The number of coronavirus infections countrywide has increased to 35 812, with the Western Cape accounting for almost two-thirds of the cases.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said there were 1 457 new cases in the past 24 hours.
A total of 761 534 tests have been processed cumulatively, of which 18 792 tests have been conducted since the last report.
A breakdown of the number of coronavirus cases and the number of deaths in the country:
Mkhize also indicated on Tuesday that it's no surprise South Africa would encounter shortages of Covid-19 diagnostic material as it is not produced locally, leading to a major testing testing backlog.
Due to the shortage of testing material, the Western Cape – the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic – issued health guidelines today limiting testing to those who had symptoms and were either in hospital, were healthcare workers, residents of old-age homes, over the age of 55 or under 55 but with underlying health conditions.
This is a dramatic change to the testing policy and is a recommendation by the province's Department of Health, aimed at prioritising testing for those most at risk.
Clinical assessment will for now fill the void, Mkhize said during a tour of the Western Cape.
"With over 700 000 tests, it is a lot of tests done, we would at some point be bound to come across those kinds of hitches," Mkhize told reporters at the Sonstraal field hospital outside Paarl.
"We must just accept that we do not manufacture our own and therefore we do not have enough… We are going all out to source the materials.
"The issue of the backlog is a temporary problem for us. We will solve it."
Mkhize said while the country sourced more diagnostic material, all people presenting with possible Covid-19 would be treated on the assumption that they were positive for the virus, and would be isolated to ensure there was no risk of them potentially transmitting it to other members of the community.
"The doctor will assume the patient has got the infection and manage the patient until the result comes… make sure that they are isolated and don't spread the infection… The test then becomes a supplementary support for the doctor," he said.
"Even if they (patients) don't have symptoms, it is only safe to release them after 14 days."
IOL and African News Agency (ANA)