Western Cape COVID-19 cases soar, new epicentre of SA outbreak

The Western Cape now has 1,279 cases of coronavirus, accounting for 32.4% of the country's total cases of 3,953.

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JOHANNESBURG - The Western Cape has now recorded the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in the country, with the latest toll in the province standing at 28. This surpasses the death toll in KwaZulu-Natal where 27 people have died.

The Western Cape now has 1,279 cases, accounting for 32.4% of the country's total cases of 3,953.

Gauteng has the second most cases at 1,252, representing 31.7% of the total cases, although its death toll is far lower at 8.

On Thursday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said there had been a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, with 318 new confirmed cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,953. Of these 318 new cases, 200 were in the Western Cape.

He also reported that 10 more people had died from the virus, taking the country's total death toll to 75.

Of the 10 new deaths reported on Thursday, 6 were in the Western Cape, 2 in KwaZulu-Natal, 1 in Gauteng and 1 in the Eastern Cape.

"It is also notable that today the Western Cape has surpassed Gauteng’s confirmed cases and now has the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country. A further analysis is being done as we are observing outbreak clusters in the Western Cape," said Mkhize.

"This means that a large number of people who operate and interact in the same area (eg. factories, shopping centres) are testing positive.

"We are observing a steady increase in the number of positive cases. While this concerns us, we are also pleased that the intensified community screening and testing campaign is assisting in finding more COVID-19 positive patients. This allows us to take the necessary actions such as isolation, quarantine or hospitalisation if required. The epidemiologists also continue to analyse these trends to in order for the country to better understand the impact of the outbreak as it unfolds."

The minister also thanked the public for heeding government’s call to participate in the mass screening and testing.

"This is well reflected in the increasing numbers of people who have been screened to date, which is 3,633,037. Of the individuals screened, 24,174 have been referred for testing."