North West mines are now Covid-19 infection hotspots, says province's health department

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
  • North West Department of Health says mines have become the hotspots for Covid-19 in the province.
  • Cases in the province are at 314 with 59 recoveries and one death.
  • The department has recommended that miners and those returning from hotspots be screened and tested prior to working.

Mines have become hotspots for Covid-19 in the North West, the provincial Department of Health said in a statement on Thursday.

"The increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases in mines is a concern to the province and MEC Madoda Sambatha has been visiting mining houses in the province to assess level of compliance with lockdown regulations," said spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.

"The mines have become hotspots for coronavirus in the province and more effort is needed to curb the disease from spreading to mining communities," Lekgethwane added.

READ | 6 miners test positive for Covid-19 in Rustenburg, says NW health dept

As a result, the department has recommended that all miners and those who come from hotspot provinces like the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape should be screened and tested before they are allowed to start working.

"Mining companies have been urged to make sure that mineworkers who test positive and their contacts are isolated at quarantine sites approved by government. Mines that were lagging behind in terms of compliance and case management have been ordered to work with district health chief directors to ensure compliance," Lekgethwane explained.

As of Thursday, the North West had 314 cases of Covid-19, an increase of 44 from previously reported cases.

The province has also recorded 59 recoveries and one death.

"A total of 74 confirmed cases which were previously allocated to Gauteng, have since been reallocated to the province after data harmonisation and verification of addresses. Majority of these cases are mine related in Rustenburg," Lekgethwane said.

3 million screened

The Bojanala District has the highest cases at 186 with 33 recoveries and one death followed by Dr Kenneth Kaunda District at 99 cases with 20 recoveries. 

Ngaka Modiri Molema District now has 19 cases with five recoveries while the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District has five cases and one recovery.

READ | Court rules patients cannot be forced into state quarantine

In addition, the provincial health department says that it has screened over three million people, of which 2 636 have been referred for testing to date.

"Mass screening and contact tracing remains key to prevention of rapid infections and all districts are above 90 percent contact tracing and all suspected cases are referred for testing," the spokesperson added.

The province maintains that it is prepared for the Level 3 lockdown which commenced on Monday.

"Hotspots have been identified across the province and plans for intervention will be implemented," he concluded.

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