SEE | New Covid-19 testing criteria for Cape Town Metro after surge in cases

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A nurse with a swab for a coronavirus test.
A nurse with a swab for a coronavirus test.
File, Getty Images
  • The Western Cape has a risk-adjusted Covid-19 testing strategy in the Cape Town Metro due to the high demand for Covid-19 tests.
  • A higher proportion of tests returns a positive result than it did during the peak of the first wave.
  • The province is also recording more active cases and hospitalisations than it did during the first wave.

While a higher proportion of tests currently return positive results than during the peak of the first wave, the Western Cape has introduced a risk-adjusted Covid-19 testing strategy in the Cape Town metro due to the high demand for testing in the province, Western Cape premier Alan Winde announced on Monday.

This was done to ensure that testing is reserved for "situations where there is the most risk", according to a statement.

The new testing criteria for the public sector in the Cape Metro only includes:

  • People with coronavirus symptoms admitted to hospital;
  • People with coronavirus symptoms, who reside in large, groups, confined spaces (old age homes, care homes, prisons etc);
  • People with Covid-19 symptoms and who are at high risk of severe disease including those over 45, and those with one or more of the following comorbidities: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, kidney, or lung disease, cancer, TB, and HIV (and are not on ARV treatment);
  • Pre-operative testing of asymptomatic patients awaiting surgery;
  • Natural deaths at home, where coronavirus symptoms were experienced before death;
  • All healthcare workers with Covid-19 symptoms and healthcare workers who are in quarantine and asymptomatic at day seven (so that they can return to work); and
  • Those who have previously tested positive but have developed new symptoms should only be tested 90 days after their first PCR test.

In the rest of the province, anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms can still be tested.

Over the weekend, the Western Cape surpassed the mark for 1 million Covid-19 tests conducted in the province in both the public and private sector since the start of the pandemic.

READ | SA tops 1 million Covid-19 cases

"Testing is an important tool in the management of this virus, but it can never give us a complete picture of the situation. Testing must always go hand in hand with personal responsibility, infection prevention strategies and quarantine and isolation in order to have the most significant impact on slowing the spread of the virus," said Winde.

Currently, the proportion of tests that return a positive result in the province is above 45%.

"This is higher than the proportion recorded during the peak of the first wave and is very concerning to us. "We have also recorded more active cases and more hospitalisations in this second wave, than we did at the peak of the first."

Since March, the province has recorded almost 200 000 Covid-19 cases.

"While the vast majority of these have been able to recover, many have become seriously ill and required hospitalisation. Over 6 300 people have now lost their lives to this virus in the Western Cape. We must all do everything we can to slow the spread of Covid-19, and to save lives."

As of 13:00 on Monday, the Western Cape had 38 881 active Covid-19 infections with a total of 196 474 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 151 261 recoveries.

A further 122 deaths have been recording in the province, bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the province to 6 332.

"We send our condolences to their loved ones at this time," said Winde.

A total of 3 064 patients were hospitalised, with 363 in intensive care units or high care units. 

- Compiled by Jan Gerber

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