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Gauteng moves from mass screening to targeted testing

The Gauteng health department has adopted a targeted-testing strategy, shifting from its mass-screening programme, SABC reports.

The province is one of the heaviest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, with over 2 000 confirmed cases and 27 deaths.

Gauteng shifts to targetted testing

Provincial acting health director-general Dr Anban Pillay says they have had to move to an alternative approach.

“This virus changes from week to week,” he is quoted by SABC. “The testing has certainly increased in the province. We were doing the door-to-door and that was intended to randomly identify people in the community who are potentially sick. It did not produce the types of outcomes we were looking for. We were doing 50/60 tests in order to find one person. We decided that we must move to more targeted testing. We identify one person who is positive, you then test everybody in that surrounding area.”

Dr Anban Pillay

Working smart to identify new cases

The province has conducted the most COVID-19 tests, according to numbers presented on Thursday, while community screening has reached over two million people.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the provincial health department had identified 30 000 contacts as of 15 May, with 92% of them being monitored.

Dr Pillay has cautioned that the volume of testing currently being done cannot be sustained due to difficulties in procuring test kits.

“These kits are not freely available globally,” he said.

“The companies that produce these kits, they have to supply the entire globe. Every country is doing testing, so they cannot keep up with the volume. Whatever we order, we’re getting a small portion of it and it comes on a weekly basis. While ideally, every country including us would like to test everyone, the reality is there are not enough kits around the world.”

Dr Anban Pillay

South Africa has recorded 19 137 positive COVID-19 cases, with the death toll at 369.

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