Western Cape Premier decries backlog in COVID-19 test processing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he’s concerned about a huge backlog in the processing of tests for COVID-19 in the province, which affects the rate at which results can be released.

Winde says there’s been a 400% increase in the number of tests conducted in the province since the end of last month.

The National Department of Health confirmed a sharp increase in the COVID-19 death toll after 52 fatalities were recorded on Monday, the highest in 24 hours, and 49 of the latest deaths were recorded in the Western Cape.

Winde says the province has a backlog of almost 18 000 tests which needs to be processed.

“We still have an issue with the backlog in our tests which is very difficult because testing is your ability to measure and gives your ability to manage. We have already engaged and written to the President and engaged with the Minister of Health on this issue. Our backlog now stand at 18 000 and we really need find a solution to this. If you cannot measure, you cannot manage.”

Move to level 3 lockdown supported despite challenges

Winde says the delays are due to a shortage of reagents and test kits, a problem which is being experienced globally.

He says in the absence of rapid tests solutions, the decision has been to prioritise health workers and those at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

Despite these challenges, Winde says he supports the decision by the President to move the country, including the Western Cape, to level 3 lockdown, as he explains in the video below:

Cape Town ICC being turned into quarantine site

On Tuesday morning, Winde visited the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) to see the progress made in turning it into a quarantine site for COVID-19 infected patients.

The facility will have 862 beds.

Contractors have been on site for just over two weeks and the quarantine site is expected to open on June 8.

Winde says the CTICC is being used to ensure that there are enough beds for patients during the most critical period of the outbreak.

INFOGRAPHIC: What will be permitted during level 3 lockdown

INFOGRAPHIC: Level 3 restrictions

-Graphics by Matiba Sibanyoni