Too early to say rising COVID-19 cases in EC, WC a new surge - Mkhize

There are currently around 6,000 active cases in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro alone.

FILE: Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during a walkabout at the Dora Ngiza Hospital in Port Elizabeth on 23 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that experts were noticing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape but it was too early to confirm whether it constituted a new surge.

Mkhize gave an update on the country's plans to deal with the rising number of infections, with over 751,000 known cases since the outbreak here on home soil.

The minister said that they had stepped up testing in these areas.

"The Eastern Cape is showing cases going up now. We're still going to increase testing but it still indicates that we are testing pretty high. The Free State is still in the first wave but we're still testing very high including, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape."

In the Eastern Cape, there's growing concern over the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

According to officials, more than a 130 healthcare professionals from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro are currently in quarantine after being infected with the virus.

Health Minister Mkhize is expected to visit the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Tuesday, where the health system is under extreme pressure.

There are currently around 6,000 active cases in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro alone.

Eastern Cape health spokesperson Siyanda Manana said that the majority of the healthcare workers who tested positive were nurses.

"We are operating now with less of the required health personnel, they were supposed to help us out but with them now isolating, there is pressure on us now in terms of the human resource, which is not there."

Manana said that although the health system in the metro was under severe pressure, they were sharing resources with the private sector to ensure that no patient was turned away.

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