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Minister Zweli Mkhizi released the following information on the latest COVID-19 cases in South Africa on Thursday afternoon…

As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 27 403. Regrettably, we report 25 more COVID-19 related deaths- this brings the total national deaths to 577.

This evening we are saddened to report that one of the deaths that have been reported is that of an employee of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). She was confirmed with COVID-19 a few weeks ago and was thereafter admitted to hospital. She succumbed to death today. We are deeply saddened by this news and wish to send words of comfort to her family and thank them for having allowed their loved one to serve the country during this difficult time.

We also take this opportunity to encourage other NHLS employees

We understand that this tragedy will certainly test you. But we wish to assure you of our commitment to continue taking the necessary measures to protect you while you perform your duties by providing the PPE required and ensuring that your work place protocols observe all the safety measures to mitigate the risk of our front line employees getting infected.

We wish to express our condolences to all the loved ones of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients.

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The recoveries to date are 14 370 which translates to a recovery rate of 52,4%.

Total cases for 28 May 2020:

  • Eastern Cape – 3306
  • Free State – 225
  • Gauteng – 3329
  • KwaZulu-Natal – 2349
  • Limpopo – 144
  • Mpumalanga – 111
  • North West – 134
  • Northern Cape – 51
  • Western Cape – 17754

Testing Data

We continue to see the number of tests increasing rapidly and they consist of those who present to hospitals / laboratories (passive cases) and those who are identified for testing through the screening process.

For various reasons, a lot of work has to be done to synchronize these figures at the laboratory. The figures that are reported are tests that have been conducted. Several tests are concluded, however a backlog arises where a number of them are not allocated per province. Of the specimens that have been collected based on the clinical prioritization, some specimens do not immediately get processed resulting in a backlog in tests. This means tests are not concluded on the same day when the specimen is received.

The number of days it takes to clear those specimen remains variable.

In the last 24 hours 20 727 tests have been conducted.

This brings a total number of tests conducted to 655 723.

As at 27 May 2020 634 996 tests had been conducted and of those a total of 29 948 tests reflects a backlog of unallocated tests. This is due to the lack of sufficient data recorded and this requires the NICD to verify each test prior to allocating it to the province.

Backlog

The acting director general was indeed correct when he stated that the backlog was around 80 000. This is to confirm that the exact figure of specimens that have not been processed is 96 480 as at 25 May 2020.

The Minister also made reference to the backlog of tests that had not been allocated and stated the figure of 30 000. This was in reference to the backlog of tests done but remain unknown at this stage as depicted in the table entitled “COVID 19 Indicators By Province.”

The above table illustrates that number of tests conducted versus the specimens collected but not yet processed fluctuates on a daily basis.

As we have previously explained, this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally (that is, inadequate supply of extraction kits and high throughputs of PCR kits).

It must be acknowledged that this capacity issue is a global challenge.

It is on this basis that, whilst specimens to test for COVID-19 are being collected from the community screening campaign, priority is being given to processing specimens that are received from patients who are admitted in hospital and health care workers.

We continue to engage suppliers all over the world and have issued licenses through SAHPRA as part of mitigating this capacity challenge.

 

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