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Two More Covid-19 Deaths as SA’s Cases Climb to 1,505

People with protective suits and mask respirators outdoors, coronavirus concept.

There have now been seven Covid-19 deaths recorded in SA, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Friday.

Speaking in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, he said there were 1,505 cases of Covid-19 recorded across the country, an increase of 43 from Thursday night.

Mkhize said the two new recorded deaths were an 80-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said there were two more cases that were under investigation and, if confirmed, would take the country’s official Covid-19 death to nine.

He said that 50,219 tests had been conducted.

But Mkhize warned that the cases were going to climb as proactive testing takes place.

He said there was an indication that the virus had spread to townships and informal settlements in the Western Cape, and that these densely populated areas would be prioritised when testing sites were opened early next week.

He said that there were also an increasing number of hospital admissions — “indicating that there might be an underlying problem of Covid-19 that we might be tracking into our hospitals”.

Mkhize said there was a question over whether or not it was “worth the effort” to test people when more than 50,000 tests had revealed a relatively small 1,500 cases.

“It is worth the effort even if we test several million people but only find a couple of thousand cases … because the devastation of a Covid-19 outbreak that is unmanaged and uncontrolled is far worse than the cost of testing many people.

“We need many more people being tested,” he said.

Mkhize praised the Western Cape government for its response to the outbreak.

“We met with the Western Cape government today where we were given very thorough briefing and to me what was most impressive is the basis on which they are approaching the entire response, which is done on a scientific research and epidemiological data and that is able to show us the fact that the outbreak is really changing in pattern, which is the point that we have been emphasising,” he said.

“The distribution of the cases has been well analysed. They have shown me the geographical mapping, which I believe is very very important to show the distribution of where our patients are,” he added.

Mkhize said that tracking was very important as it helped the government zoom in on the socioeconomic conditions of individual patients.

He said they were briefed on some of these problems such as food security, transport pressures, overcrowding and poverty, saying these were significant factors leading to the spread of the outbreak.

He said the spread of the virus to these areas created a new dynamic to the management of the outbreak.

“The province’s approach is quite sound. We want to say to the Western Cape government — bearing in mind the challenges that we have seen — it’s important to scale up to a point where we are able to provide sites in areas where testing and screening will take place.

“It’s important to raise the issue of additional admission beds where we should be able to augment the current existing capacity so that when the numbers of people being admitted increases it will be easy to move on.

“The numbers we have seen of people infected is being delayed by the impact of the lockdown, the reduction of the number of visitors, the closing of the ports,” said Mkhize.

He added that there was a big push to flatten the curve — a term used to refer to slowing down the spread of new infections — before the flu season, with flu itself being a virus which can cause death and hospitalisation.

Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said the first testing sites across the province would open on Monday.

He said there were two more cases that were under investigation and, if confirmed, would take the country’s official Covid-19 death to nine.

He said that 50,219 tests had been conducted. Mkhize said there was a question over whether or not it was “worth the effort” to test people when more than 50,000 tests had revealed a relatively small 1,500 cases.”

It is worth the effort even if we test several million people but only find a couple of thousand cases… because the devastation of a Covid-19 outbreak that is unmanaged and uncontrolled is far worse than the cost of testing many people.”We need many more people being tested,” he said.

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Written by Mathew

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