More than 700 teachers and school staff and 88 pupils have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Western Cape to date according to this week's provisional stats, Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has said.
This was according to initial reports this week, she confirmed during a briefing to the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.
According to the verified cumulative total released a week ago, 375 staff members and 61 pupils had tested positive, Schäfer's spokesperson, Kerry Mauchline, said.
"This includes staff members who tested positive before the reopening of schools on 1 June. The majority of schools that have reported cases have only reported one or two cases, so we are not seeing evidence of mass spreading at schools."
She explained that districts have until every Friday to verify each and every case for accurate reporting purposes. A report is then compiled, with figures not considered final until after verification.
This week's final cumulative total is therefore expected at the end of Friday, and could be more or less than the 700 figure in the interim results.
According to the most recent figures released by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, the Western Cape accounted for 56 780 – or 48% – of the total national infections.
A total of 1 652 people in the province have succumbed to Covid-19, while 39 475 have recovered.
Mauchline said a confirmed case, which required a detailed protocol to be followed, does not necessarily require a school to be closed.
"In each case, a number of factors will be considered in making the decision," she said.
Only the areas where the staff member or pupil has physically been present needed to be disinfected.
According to Mauchline, the date the infected person was last at the school is important as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the Department of Health have told the education department the virus does not survive on surfaces for more than 72 hours.
"If a staff member was last present at a school more than a week before, sanitising a surface is not required."