14 out of 100 testing positive for Coronavirus

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FILE PHOTO: Test tube with Corona virus name label is seen in this illustration taken on January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
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According to the latest Covid-19 test results, 14 out of 100 tested patients came back positive, a figure significantly higher than when the country had reached its peak in July, said experts.

As of yesterday afternoon, the country stood at 769 759 cumulative confirmed cases, with 2 080 new infections recorded out of the 14 377 new tests.

This meant a 14% positive rate, a figure which Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said was of concern.

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But experts say a below 10% positivity rate was more ideal but the increase appeared to have been due the country moving to Level 1 lockdown, said Professor Glenda Davison, the head of biometric sciences department at Cape Peninsula University.

“[This means] for every 100 tests that are requested, 14 are coming back positive.”

“We should be concerned as ideally, we would like the positivity rate to remain below 10% and to be slowly decreasing. This is, however, not happening as since lockdown Level 1, the rate has been creeping up over 10% and is now at 14%. This means that more people are being infected,” Davison said.

This figure was high compared to when the country was at its peak in July when an average 9% positivity rate was recorded, said South African Medical Research Council chief executive Professor Glenda Gray.

“In the peak of the epidemic, which was around July, we were testing about 45 000 people [per day] and about

4 167 were positive, making it about 9%,” said Gray.

“It is increasing and it also depends on who you are testing, if you are changing the testing guidelines and also depends on where you are testing, which may drive the positivity rate.”

Wits University School of Governance Professor Alex van den Heever believed a large portion of the high positivity rate could be in the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape had seen a surge of infections and deaths which MEC for health Sindiswa Gomba flagged as a possible looming second wave in the province.

The situation in the Eastern Cape also prompted hospital group Netcare to send additional staff to health facilities and to suspend elective surgeries in the province.

“Health services are overwhelmed and patients arriving too late at hospitals. The mortality rate is around 80%. It is a disaster,” said Van den Heever.

The festive season could pose a serious danger increasing positive rates should South Africans celebrate in confined spaces with no masks, said Davison.

“These are often known as superspreader events. The current increase in infections has in fact been traced back to night clubs and parties,” she said.

Despite the country reporting a 92.4% recovery rate, it was the number of deaths, hospitalisations and infections that was of importance. But the increasing recovery figure was probably higher than the number of asymptomatic infections.

“However, we should still be concerned that those at risk, the elderly and those with comorbidities, often are not in that 90%. Even people who have recovered may have been very sick and taken a long time to fully recover. That means we must still obey Covid-19 rules.”

– The Citizen


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