Half of the people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Gauteng did not show symptoms and may have gone around infecting others, said Gauteng Premier David Makhura during a provincial command council briefing on Thursday.
He added the screening of people was vital, especially with the flu season approaching.
“We want to screen five million people in winter. Screening is important and those with symptoms, we will refer them for testing. We don’t want to rely only on the screening of people, given the changing dynamics of this pandemic according to scientists.”
Makhura said 17 942 people have been tested so far in Gauteng, as of Thursday.
“As we enter the flu season, we want to double the number of people we are testing. We want to test 3 000 people per day. Testing tells us what it is that we don’t know. We must be able to say there is something else we don’t know and be able to deal with.
“We will be able to rush to where there is a real crisis before the numbers shoot up overnight. We must be able to see a possible threat or risk as we do more testing and screening.”
Makhura added the province wanted to partner with other role players to increase its testing capabilities.
Currently, 51 people have been admitted to private hospitals in Gauteng and 21 to public ones.
Makhura said there was one serious case in ICU which was being monitored closely, adding 186 people have been discharged from hospitals, while 11 died.
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“We have vaccinated 32 381 public health workers. We can’t afford to have too many of them as we going into the flu season who would not be strengthened. The vaccination programme is important. The elderly are at risk.
“We have targeted them and have immunised 34 061 people and children as well. We have immunised 30 636 pregnant women. We have also immunised 74 016 chronic patients. We have also immunised 37 544 people living with HIV/Aids.
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“We are not just dealing or chasing the enemy, we are only on another front ensuring that we attend to people in preparation for the flu season. We are all worried about what the flu season will mean,” said Makhura.
He added 8 301 beds were available in private and public hospitals.
“We are planning on adding another 1 700 beds and they will be added into the existing facilities. This is to expand our existing capacities.
“We have 5 339 beds in quarantine facilities. We are working with the national government because some of our facilities are under provincial and national government. Individuals can self-quarantine in hotels because there are hotels that are opened for quarantine facilities only,” Makhura said.