Despite the fact that South Africa’s Covid-19 numbers have continued to grow, the country is being forced to reopen businesses to allow millions to start earning a living again. Unfortunately, this is also going to mean the unavoidable increase in infections we have seen over the past few weeks, making it that much harder to contain the spread.
We have already seen a growing backlog of test results, and as people start returning to their workplaces, the official trace and test initiative is going to be under even more strain. Large companies, and those with many frontline staff in particular, should consider investing in their own testing solutions.
Early reports by the National Health Laboratory Service indicated that it had the capacity to do 36,000 tests a day by the end of April 2020, but this has not been the case in practice. Private labs, too, are struggling to keep up. Experts have even said that some labs with the capacity to do 1,000 tests a day have a backlog of 10,000. As the South Africa’s numbers continue to grow, labs are going to be under even more pressure.
Part of the problem, is that there are only so many labs in the country, and these are being inundated with samples from many different sources. As a result, turnaround time has increased from 24 hours to more than seven days.
Covid-19 is not going anywhere, any time soon. With more people moving around, it is going to get even harder for government to manage testing and tracing alone. Testing is the single most important factor in containing the spread of the virus, and companies must start taking the initiative to help keep their staff safe. Many businesses are not aware that there are testing solutions that they can purchase themselves to do rapid testing on staff. Companies that have thousands of employees will find that investing in their own testing solution will help limit the number of closures they have to face in the weeks and the months ahead, also helping to minimise community transmission.
As a result of the backlog, tests for frontline workers, including healthcare staff and other essential services such as security guards, are already marked “urgent” and moved to the front of the NHLS queue. In theory, this is to to try to speed up results for these groups, but in practice, it’s adding to the backlog as more test samples come in on a daily basis.
It’s not just the numbers of samples and a shortage of test kits and reagents that are causing a backlog. Skilled medical staff are needed to take the samples properly, as are skilled pathologists to conduct the tests.
This is why we have created a solution that includes the right partnerships, the right expertise as well as the technology needed to ensure that businesses can do their own Covid-19 tests. By investing in our solution, organisations can ensure that they get same-day results, minimising disruption and safeguarding their staff.