Covid-19: Why the Western Cape has an 18 000-test backlog

(Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)
(Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

The Western Cape has an 18 000-test backlog for Covid-19, said Premier Alan Winde on Monday.

"We once again call on both the President and Minister [Zweli] Mkhize to move as quickly as possible to ensure that the [National Health Laboratory Service] is provided with the resources it so urgently requires and that testing across the country can continue unhindered," said Winde in a statement. 

READ | 26 Covid-19 cases at Cape Town hospital

He has already raised the issue with Mkhize, and understands that the problem is a worldwide shortage of reagents and test kits, the increased testing in all of the provinces, and the release of their results by the National Health Laboratory Services.

A total of 124 079 tests had been completed in the Western Cape - a 400% increase in the number of tests conducted in the province since 25 April, Winde's statement said.

The province had 14 978 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to Monday's statement. Of these, 7 221 people had recovered, and 318 people had died. 

High care

Of the active cases, 554 were in hospital, and 139 are in the intensive care unit or the high care unit. 

Winde warned that this was not the peak of the infection, and he urged people to adhere to the hygiene protocols, to practise physical distancing and to seek help if they had difficulty breathing. 

READ | A look inside the Cape Town convention centre transformed into an 850-bed hospital

"It will not be business as usual in the Western Cape. We will all need to work much harder to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones."

With one week until Level 3 of the lockdown, with eased restrictions, he said more people would be at work, and that hygiene and sanitisation measures would be of great importance.

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