The total number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa has increased to 1,585, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement on Saturday evening.
This was an increase of 80 from the previously reported cases on Friday.
According to the statement, South Africa now had a total of nine confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases per province:
• Gauteng 693
• Western Cape 433
• KwaZulu–Natal 232
• Free State 85
• North West 11
• Mpumalanga 18
• Limpopo 18
• Eastern Cape 25
• Northern Cape 7
• Unallocated 63
NETCARE ST AUGUSTINE’S HOSPITAL CASES
Mkhize said the Health Department received a report from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu that KZN had 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases – which included patients and health workers – linked to St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban.
“Furthermore, three of the deceased patients from KZN had been admitted at the hospital. The COVID-19 positive cases include patients, health workers, and other staff members,” he said.
The minister said the provincial Health Department and Netcare management agreed that the affected sections of the hospital should be closed, and no new patients should be admitted.
“This is a precautionary measure to allow for a thorough identification of areas within the hospital where there may have been infection control lapses.
“The areas that were exposed to positive patients are also being disinfected. At this stage, more than 150 tests have been conducted within the hospital and contact tracing is underway. We have advised that more tests be done on both staff and patients in order to determine the true extent of the existence of the infection in the facility, which may call for further interventions.”
Mkhize said as part of intensifying the contact tracing and testing process, Simelane-Zulu had also requested that Netcare availed a list of its patients that were exposed to the hospital from the beginning of March.
“We support this call and therefore make a public announcement that if you were a patient at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital from 1 March 2020 to date, we request that you contact the KZN Department of Health,” the minister said.
He also sent government’s condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased and thanked the doctors, health workers, and all staff members of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital for their commitment to serve amid the COVID-19 pandemic.