GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - News of the first Covid-19 death in George was received at the weekend.
This is the third Covid-related death in the Garden Route. The other two deaths were in Knysna and Mossel Bay.
"Due to patient confidentiality we cannot disclose more information," said Western Cape Health district spokesperson Nadia Ferreira.
At 13:00 on Wednesday 27 May, the Garden Route had a total of 178 of cases of whom 82 have recovered.
Three George Hospital staff members tested positive in the past week. Two patients are being treated for Covid-19 at the hospital, but no Covid-19 cases are in ICU.
At Mediclinic George, three patients are being treated for Covid-19, two of whom are more serious. "One is doing much better now. Two staff members are positive," said hospital manager Kassie Karstens.
Health teams in the Garden Route district have screened more than 70 000 people to date and have referred 404 for testing through the door-to-door screening and testing programme, according to the Western Cape Department of Health.
The Western Cape has recorded 16 551 cases and 388 deaths as on Wednesday 27 May at 13:00.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde expressed concern over a backlog of 18 000 Covid-19 tests in the province for which results are being awaited. Since 25 April, the number of tests conducted in the province has increased by 400%, which added to factors causing the backlog at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). By Monday 25 May, a total of 124 079 tests have been completed in the province.
Winde has previously written to both the President and National Health Minister Zweli Mkhize regarding the situation.
He said in the absence of a rapid-test solution, the decision is to prioritise healthcare workers, those in hospital and those at high risk in order to ensure the most efficient way of managing the curve of the disease.
Reasons for high numbers in W Cape
DA Leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement this week one of the reasons for the Western Cape's high Covid numbers is that Cape Town as Africa's most popular tourist region welcomed the most visitors from the hardest-hit Covid regions in the world while the pandemic was progressing. "The Western Cape has also been testing more of its population than any other province. So far, it has tested 1 350 people per 100 000 of the population, while other provinces have tested between 140 and 850 per 100 000."
Thirdly, the province's testing strategy is focused on testing in 'hotspots' where the infections are concentrated, as opposed to general testing of the population. This means the ratio of positive tests to all tests will be higher. Fourthly, the province is also performing post-mortem testing, so patients who were not tested for Covid before they died are more likely to be added to the numbers.
A group of Cuban doctors was also welcomed in the Western Cape during the past week. They form part of a group of over 200 doctors and medical specialists who came to South Africa from Cuba to assist in the response to Covid-19 as part of an agreement between Cuba and the national health department.
Winde said 1 000 applications were received in response to the province's call for people with medical experience to volunteer to bolster the healthcare response as needed over the coming weeks and months.
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