No COVID-19 testing in Cape Town if younger than 55: WC health dept
Head of Health at the Western Cape Department of Health Dr Keith Cloete says officials in the Cape Metro will now only test for Covid-19 in people with comorbidities that are older than 55 unless you display symptoms and have underlying conditions.
Cloete dropped the bombshell in a radio interview with Pippa Hudson on Cape Talk.
The health department official said the new approach was part of a focus on reducing the mortality rate by prioritizing high-risk patients.
Everyone who accesses a health facility will get screened, but only those who have symptoms and fall into specified categories will be tested.
Conditions for COVID-19 testing in Cape Town
The conditions detailed by Cloete on Cape Talk were:
- People already in hospital with Covid-19 symptoms.
- Health care workers with Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who are older than 55 with diabetes or hypertension and Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who are younger than 55 with underlying conditions and Covid-19 symptoms.
- People who live in a care home or an old age home with Covid-19 symptoms.
The reasoning behind the change in testing protocol
“We want to reduce mortality… our focus turns away from people least at risk. We want to preserve tests for where it makes the most difference,” Cloete told Hudson when asked why the approach to testing has changed.
“If you’re younger than 55 and you have symptoms, assume you have COVID-19. After 14 days, you’ll be fine. There’s no purpose in getting a test.
“Screening is vital,” Cloete insisted.
“In other areas, you can still get tested. In the metro, we’re at the point that we’re [only] looking at the vulnerable.”
The Western Cape is the epicentre of the virus in South Africa with 23 583 confirmed cases as of 2 June 2020. The province has seen 525 deaths attributed to COVID-19 with the majority of those occurring in the Cape Town metro.
The health department may find justification in their strategy in the fact that the province has seen a high rate of recovery alongside it’s high-rate of infection.
As of 1 June, the Cape Town Metro reportedly has 7,981 active cases of COVID-19.
Cape Town is the first metro to record more than 10,000 recoveries which is more than half of the 17, 991 cases attributed to the city.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa had risen to 35 812 on Tuesday 2 June 2020.