True extent of coronavirus in Eastern Cape unknown, says DA


True extent of coronavirus in Eastern Cape unknown, says DA

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Monday 31 March 2020 if the latest COVID-19 statistics are anything to go by, it would be hard to estimate the spread of the virus in the province.

According to Jane Cowley, the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape, accurately identifying patients with COVID-19 is essential to prevent the virus from spreading.

As reported by RNews, Cowley pointed out that more than 35 000 coronavirus tests have been processed and only 77 of those have been for residents in Eastern Cape.

Five new COVID-19 cases in Eastern Cape

An additional five people have tested positive in the province, according to the latest COVID-19 statistics. Of the 77 tests carried out in the province, only 12 have been positive.

“All the new five people who tested positive for COVID-19 have mild symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated in their homes by their Doctors. Isolation of people who have mild symptoms of COVID-19 is in line with the coronavirus treatment protocols”.

Three of the five patients had a history of international travel, while two travelled locally. The Eastern Cape Provincial Government confirmed that it is “tracing people who came into contact” with the five individuals.

“Dire consequences” for the province

According to Cowley, “the latest information seems to indicate that, once again, the province is at the back of the queue, which could have dire consequences”.

She explained that people who are currently under investigation may not see the urgency in self-isolating, and adds that spreading the virus would be “catastrophic” for the province.

“[…] It is vital that the province get ahead of the disease. What adds to this concern, is that of the 77 tests done, 12 have tested positive, which is a much higher average compared to the national reported figures”.

The Eastern Cape has a population of around 7.3m, with the majority living in informal settlements. Not only do residents live in close proximity to one another, they also have limited access to basic services and healthcare.

Backlog due to pressure of increased workload

There is currently a “significant backlog due to pressure caused by the increasing workload” on private laboratories to carry out tests, which indicates that the “disease is already in our communities”.

“We also call on all Eastern Cape residents to remain vigilant, heed the current lockdown regulations and stay home wherever possible.”

Cowley said the “news of additional mobile testing stations is also welcomed,” and vowed to write to the Premier “to request his urgent intervention, to ensure that the backlog of outstanding provincial tests be prioritised”.

The DA also praised healthcare professionals who service the community.

“Healthcare professionals are making the greatest sacrifice by serving the health system at this critical time – we need to ensure that they are sufficiently protected while treating South Africans that need medical attention”.

Also read – DA calls for protection of EMS staff amid ‘senseless attacks’

Source: The South African Read More

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