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WC Health Dept to use antigen testing as COVID-19 cases, deaths rise

The provincial Health Department said that there had been a 17% rise in deaths in the last week.

FILE: Snorkel masks protect healthcare personnel at Tygerberg Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Western Cape Government.

CAPE TOWN - Forty-nine more people have died of COVID-19 in the Western Cape, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 5,552.

The provincial Health Department said that there had been a 17% rise in deaths in the last week.

The province also has over 34,600 active cases.

Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete: "There's a new dominant lineage, it's a new variant, and we've also done a sample on the Cape Flats and we can now say that this variant has gone faster than the other variant and that, to some extent, explains what's happened in Garden Route and what's happening in the rest of the Western Cape."

Cloete said that they were starting to use antigen testing in hospitals as well.

"The antigen testing, the one that's used at the airport, it gives you a result within the hour. If we start using at the hospitals, it helps us make a distinction of somebody to confirm their diagnosis and we are looking over the next couple of days, within the next week, to get this at each of our hospitals, working with the National Health Laboratory System."

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