Screening and testing for Covid-19 in the Northern Cape

As part of the Surveillance and Active case-finding response conducted through door-to-door screening, the Northern Cape MEC of Health, Ms. Mase Manopole has noted with concern the non-adherence of social distancing and wearing of masks by some members of our communities. This has a potential to drastically reverse the gains made by all of us to combat the spread of COVID-19 in society.

In addition, we have noted the increased numbers of people travelling into the Province which poses a greater risk that the number of positive people in the province could increase significantly.

The Health Department forms part of the inter-provincial roadblocks in all Districts and over the weekend of Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd May, more than 5966 people crossed between provincial borders.

This comes at a time when the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Province increased to 24. However, there is some good news in that the first 16 people who tested positive are now deemed recovered from COVID-19, leaving us with Eight (8) active cases. The new cases are as follows:

– One new positive person in ZF Mgcawu District. This person, who lives in the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality. After the National Lockdown he came forward for testing and was placed under self-quarantine. The result came back positive for Covid-19 on the 25th April, and he is now in self-isolation. The Department tracing team was able to trace all 24 of his close contacts who were all tested for COVID-19. We are pleased to announce that their results have all come back negative for Covid-19.

– Seven new positive people in Frances Baard District, all in the in the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality. Five of these people were being admitted to hospital for conditions not related to Covid-19 but were identified as being Covid-19 positive during the hospital’s screening and testing procedure. All five are currently admitted in isolation in hospital. A sixth person was tested for Covid-19 in preparation for admission for an unrelated operation and was positive. This person is in self-isolation at home. The seventh person testing positive is a close contact of one of the five admitted patients and is in self-isolation at home.

The District Outbreak Response Team is busy tracing all their close contacts who are being placed under quarantine whilst they are tested and waiting for the results.

Currently more than 531 509 people have been screened and 1 491 laboratory tests conducted in the province.

The National Department of Health outlined different stages of South Africa’s COVID-19 response plan, and this shows that our province is on track in terms of implementing the recommended strategy to flatten the curve. It must be noted that Stage 1 was focused on Preparation with community education, establishing laboratory capacity and early surveillance. Stage 2 focused on Primary Prevention, including social distancing, hand-washing and closing schools. Stage 3 was the introduction of the National Lockdown and intensifying curtailment of human interaction. We are currently in Stage 4 which focuses on surveillance and active case-finding, including door-to-door screening, testing those that meet the criteria, isolation and contact tracing.

We are preparing for Stage 5 which focuses on managing hotspots, including surveillance to identify hotspots, spatial monitoring of new cases as well as outbreak investigation & intervention teams. This will then be followed by Stage 6 which focuses on providing increased medical care during the peak of the pandemic. During Stages 5 and 6 we will see an increase in the number of laboratory tests conducted as more of our people meet the criteria for testing.

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