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Over 96,000 COVID-19 tests yet to be processed in SA - Health dept

The department said this was the result of a lack of extraction kits as demand for testing increased globally.

FILE: Medical swabs to test for the coronavirus. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The latest data released by the Department of Health showed a backlog of more than 96,000 COVID-19 tests that were yet been processed.

The department said this was the result of a lack of extraction kits as demand for testing increased globally.

South Africa’s coronavirus death toll rose to 577, while there were at least 27,403 infections.

Gauteng carried out the highest number of COVID-19 tests with the number sitting at 209,000.

The Western Cape, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak, had opted not to focus on community screening but rather on contact tracing, which resulted in 660 people being hospitalised. The province has 406 fatalities.

All the other provinces, except for the Northern Cape, had focused on community screening.

While specimens to test for COVID-19 were still being collected from the community screening campaigns, priority was being given to the processing of samples that were received from patients who are in hospitals and health care workers.

At the same time, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said that the province had instituted a "ward-based" approach in the fight against COVID-19.

The premier gave an update on developments in the province over the past week.

He said that they decided to zone in on specific areas, using ward-based teams, to curb the spread of the virus, particularly in informal settlements.

The Gauteng government also said that it was working to understand the circumstances surrounding cluster outbreaks in the province.

Makhura said that the past eight days had seen a significant increase in active cases, singling out the West Rand as an area of concern.

The mining area was earlier this week declared a hotspot after several workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The premier said they were keeping a close eye on the region.

“We have traced over 200 contacts in the communities in the area, including putting in place safety measures just to make sure that we test people. We are doing so, we are testing people in the communities and also working with the mines just to make sure that we test more workers in that area.”

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.