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First NC death confirmed

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The Jan Kempdorp community health centre has been temporarily closed, after a 60-year-old woman was admitted to the facility.

THE NORTHERN Cape on Tuesday evening confirmed its first Covid-19 death while the total number of positive infections remained at 37.

The Jan Kempdorp community health centre has been temporarily closed, after a 60-year-old woman was admitted to the facility. 

Patients and staff at the centre were transferred to another facility earlier in the week.

It is believed that the deceased recently traveled from the Eastern Cape to the Northern Cape during the travel window period as she was employed in Jan Kempdorp.

Spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, confirmed that the patient was tested for Covid-19 because she had a recent travel history from outside the Province. 

“The laboratory results came back as positive for Covid-19 and the 60-year-old woman, who lived in the Phokwane municipal area in the Frances Baard District, was admitted to a health facility with congestive heart failure, among other complications.

“Regrettably we report the first Covid-19 related death in the Northern Cape.”

He added that the Jan Kempdorp community health centre was closed for further admissions.

“Staff and patients had swabs taken over the weekend for laboratory testing.”

Majaha stated that another person who tested positive for Covid-19 was traced to the Thembelihle Local Municipality.

“The person was tested last week and the result was received over the weekend. At the time the swab was taken, the patient indicated that he was from the Sol Plaatje municipal district and it was duly reported as such.

“However, the tracing team followed up and discovered that the person resides in the Pixley ka Seme District.”

He added that 27 out of the 37 people who tested positive had recovered while one person had passed away.

“This leaves us with nine active positive cases.”

Majaha indicated that, to date, 907 822 people were screened across the Province with 4 133 tests conducted.

“In our continued effort of raising awareness on the preventative methods to limit the spread of Covid-19, the MEC for Health affirms our commitment to intensify mass screening and testing as defined by the World Health Organisation.”

He said the MEC approved plans to test all patients admitted to hospital as well as all contacts of identified Covid-19 positive persons.

“The MEC also welcomes the national plan to test all community health workers and other screeners in order to prevent any spread through health staff. This proactive strategy will assist in early detection of possible hotpots in time for swift.”

Majaha added that the 11 Cuban clinicians who reported for duty in the Province would work closely with the Provincial Rapid Response Team.

“The team, comprising of an epidemiologist, a bio-statistician, two health technologists and seven physicians, will manage hotspots. This includes surveillance of identified hotspots, spatial monitoring of new cases as well as outbreak investigation and intervention.”

He said the National Health Laboratory Service team in the Province has given the assurance that it has the necessary capacity to ramp-up testing in all hotspots. 

“A commitment was made to speed up the availability of test results.” 

“The MEC is committed towards bolstering the outbreak investigation and intervention teams with adequate staff in all districts across the Province.” 

MEC Mase Monnapule also expressed her heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

She thanked the health workers who treated the deceased adding that: “We extend our gratitude to all the health service staff for their commitment and resilience during these very testing times.”

She urged community members to remain calm and observe infection control measures by maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing cloth masks.