South Africa now has nine deaths associated with COVID-19, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Saturday (April 4).

At the same time the Minister revealed that the country’s confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen by 80 from Friday to 1585.

The country has conducted 53 937 COVID-19 tests.

Gauteng remains the province with the highest number of cases with 693, followed by the Western Cape with 433 cases.

KwaZulu-Natal now has 232 confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

In a statement, the Minister confirmed reports of 11 positive cases at the St Augustine’s private hospital in Durban.

“We have received a report from KZN Health MEC, Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu that KwaZulu-Natal has 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to St Augustine’s Hospital, in Durban. Furthermore, 3 of the deceased patients from KZN had been admitted at the hospital,” he said.

The COVID-19 positive cases include patients, health workers and other staff members.

He said the KZN Department of Health and Netcare management agreed that the sections of the hospital affected be closed and no new patient admissions be permitted.

“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,” he said.

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.”

As part of intensifying the contact tracing and testing process, MEC Simelane-Zulu has also requested that Netcare avails a list of its patients that were exposed to the hospital as from the beginning of March.

Mkhize said: “We therefore make a public announcement that if you were a patient at St Augustine’s Hospital from 1 March 2020 to date, we request that you contact the KZN Department of Health”.

The Minister expressed condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased. He thanked the doctors, health workers and all staff members of the hospital for their commitment to serve during these difficult times. –

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