Head of Health at the Western Cape Department of Health Dr Keith Cloete says officials in the Cape Metro will now only test for COVID-19 in people with comorbidities that are older than 55 unless you display symptoms and have underlying conditions.
Cloete dropped the bombshell in a radio interview with Pippa Hudson on Cape Talk.
The health department official said the new approach was part of a focus on reducing the mortality rate by prioritizing high-risk patients.
Everyone who accesses a health facility will get screened, but only those who have symptoms and fall into specified categories will be tested.
CONDITIONS FOR COVID-19 TESTING IN CAPE TOWN
- People already in hospital with Covid-19 symptoms.
- Health care workers with Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who are older than 55 with diabetes or hypertension and Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who are younger than 55 with underlying conditions and Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who live in a care home or an old age home with Covid-19 symptoms
THE REASONING BEHIND THE CHANGE IN TESTING PROTOCOL
“We want to reduce mortality… our focus turns away from people least at risk. We want to preserve tests for where it makes the most difference,” Cloete told Hudson when asked why the approach to testing has changed.
“If you’re younger than 55 and you have symptoms, assume you have COVID-19. After 14 days, you’ll be fine. There’s no purpose in getting a test.
“Screening is vital,” Cloete insisted.
“In other areas, you can still get tested. In the metro, we’re at the point that we’re [only] looking at the vulnerable.”
As of 1 June, the Cape Town Metro reportedly has 7,981 active cases of COVID-19.
Cape Town is the first metro to record more than 10,000 recoveries which is more than half of the 17, 991 cases attributed to the city.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa had risen to 35,812 on Tuesday 2 June 2020.