Only 1 243 have been tested.
IN SPITE of a high level of screening for the coronavirus in the Northern Cape, which has seen almost a half a million people in the Province being screened for Covid-19, concern has been expressed about the low level of tests being conducted in the Province.
According to the latest figures by the provincial Department of Health released on Wednesday, a total of 454 325 people in the Northern Cape have been screened, while only 1 243 have been tested.
The Province continues to have 17 positive cases, with 13 of these having recovered. All 11 cases in the Frances Baard District have recovered, while the one positive case in the Pixley ka Seme District has also recovered. One of the two cases in the ZF Mgcawu District has recovered. The four unrecovered cases include three in the Namaqua District and one in ZF Mgcawu. The JTG district has no cases.
The DA in the Province pointed out in a statement that while the latest figures presented by the provincial Department of Health showed that the number of tests in the Province had picked up, the rate of testing remained slow.
DA provincial leader Andrew Louw said that while screening was important, it was not the same as testing.
“We can only wonder what has happened to the roll-out of the promised national mass testing campaign in the Northern Cape, especially in light of the fact that the Province has received a number of mobile laboratories from the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS),” Louw said.
“Also, since the mass screening and testing campaign in Sol Plaatje Municipality was cancelled almost two weeks ago, the public has not received information on the resumption of this campaign in the capital municipality in Kimberley.”
Louw added that according to reports about the latest positive case number 17 in Upington, the person who tested positive did not know how or where he contracted the virus.
“If this is indeed true, this should be cause for alarm as it could signify that community spread is indeed hard at work in the Province. The bottom line therefore is that the current number of tests done is not enough to gauge the true extent of the disease in the Province and to rule out the threat of rampant local transmissions.”
He warned that if the Northern Cape did not increase its testing capacity to better understand infection and reproduction rates in the community, the provincial health care system could be caught off guard with a sudden spike in cases when least expected.
“The DA is therefore reiterating our call for ramped up testing in the Northern Cape. Increased testing capacity is one of the most effective ways through which the Province can beat this pandemic and no price tag should be placed on testing. It may cost more now, but it will undoubtedly save lives and livelihoods later.”
Louw also called on the MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, to continue sharing the summary of tests done, people screened, as well as a breakdown of cases per district and recoveries with all the people of the Northern Cape on a regular basis.
“We also ask her to provide additional updates on how many of the positive cases, if any, have been admitted to hospitals and placed on ventilators.”