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Staff Reporter

The Free State has experienced a steady increase in community transmissions of COVID-19, with Mangaung remaining as the epicentre of the coronavirus disease in the province.

This was revealed by Health MEC Montseng Tsiu while addressing a media briefing currently going on in Bloemfontein on the province’s risk-adjusted strategy to counter the deadly disease.

“Bloemfontein remains the epicentre of the disease as a result of imported cases,” she said.

“Of late, the province has experienced a steady increase in community transmissions which cannot be easily traced to the source.”

The latest figures indicate that the Free State has a total of 165 confirmed cases, with three new cases recorded yesterday.

The province has to date recorded 115 recoveries and six deaths.

Mangaung has 141 cases, Thabo Mofutsanyana District 12, Lejweleputswa four, Xhariep two and Fezile Dabi six.

As the Free State ramps up its efforts to contain the deadly disease, the provincial health department says all patients admitted to its hospitals with acute respiratory complications will be subjected to immediate screening and testing for COVID-19.

“All patients admitted to hospitals with acute respiratory illnesses will be screened and tested for COVID-19,” Tsiu told reporters, adding that other people who may be viewed as vulnerable to the disease will also be screened and tested.

The media briefing has been called by the Provincial Command Council on COVID-19 led by Premier Sisi Ntombela to give an update on the implementation of the risk-adjusted strategy to counter the pandemic.

“Healthcare workers will also be subjected to screening and testing if they show any signs of respiratory complications as well as people in old care homes and persons in correctional facilities,” Tsiu said.

The MEC added that they will also continue swabbing bodies during post-mortems to ascertain the possibility of coronavirus infection not detected before death.

Head of the provincial health department, Dr David Motau, said the Free State will be phasing out mass public screenings as they had achieved a low yield of positive cases.

“We will be stopping the mass screenings because they have yielded a low rate of positive cases,” he said.

“This was not a futile exercise because it allowed us to understand the situation at hand.”

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