The Western Cape government is rationing its Covid-19 testing in Cape Town, prioritising people it considers to be most at risk amid a nationwide backlog in test results and increased demand as it approaches its Covid-19 peak.
It is asking people in the Cape Town metro who experience mild symptoms and who are not part of one of the at-risk groups, to assume they are Covid-19 positive, and isolate themselves until more test kits are procured.
"That does mean that explicitly, we have had to make the call that if you are under the age of 55 and you don't have comorbidities, that at this point in time, if you present yourself for testing, we will be doing screening to say to you, 'if you've got the symptoms, please isolate yourself and assume that you've got Covid[-19]'," he head of the provincial Department of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, said.
Cloete said people regarded as the most vulnerable and who are at high risk are those who are more likely to develop the moderate-to-severe form of Covid-19 and that was why they were being prioritised for testing.
The Department of Labour initially said a negative test was needed for people to go back to work, but the Western Cape health department advised that a letter and certificate from a healthcare worker would do.