Slow Covid-19 test results endanger Health workers
18 May 2020
The slow processing of Covid-19 tests in Gauteng is a particular danger to staff at hospitals and clinics, as well as patients who attend these health facilities.
I am aware of a large provincial clinic in Johannesburg where an administration clerk who had taken a test on 24 April was only told that he had tested positive last week. He was asymptomatic but his colleagues have now all been put into quarantine.
It appears that the testing backlog in Gauteng may be more than 10 000, which accounts for some results taking more than two weeks.
According to the Gauteng Provincial Government 127 030 Covid-19 tests have been conducted in total in Gauteng as at 13 May, but it is unclear whether this refers to tests conducted or the actual results.
If test capacity problems cannot be solved very soon then priority should be given to the staff and patients in health facilities to ensure their results are done as soon as possible. Other areas of high public interaction such as shops, transport and workplaces should also receive preference for tests.
Mass community screening and testing is only effective if there are speedy test results to identify and intervene in emerging infection hot spots.
I suspect that Gauteng infection figures are understated because of testing delays which need to be resolved as soon as possible if we are to fight this pandemic effectively.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 18 May 2020