Ghana now recording 400 COVID-19 cases – Ghana Health Service

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service

Ghana is now recording an average of 400 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a day, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has said.

Speaking at a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information to provide an update on the country’s COVID-19 case management situation in Accra yesterday, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the cases were detected through routine surveillance and enhanced contact tracing.

“There is an increasing trend; this tells you that we are doing an average of 400 new cases a day and that is something we really need to take caution of and make sure we bring it down,” he said. 

He said since Ghana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March this year, there had been 21,968 positive cases recorded, out of which 17,156 people had recovered, leaving existing active cases of 4,683.

“Currently, we have 22 severe cases at our treatment centres, six in critical conditions and five on ventilators,” he said.

Testing challenges

He explained that due to challenges with the country’s testing regime, there had been an accumulation of test results within an eight-day period, which had contributed to the rise in the country’s case count.

He said the period of accumulation occurred between June 26 and July 3, this year, within which 891 cases were recorded from 73 districts across the country.

Regional breakdown

Giving a breakdown of the case count, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said 579 new cases were recorded from 24 districts in the Greater Accra Region within the period, the highest in the country.

Some 93 cases were recorded in 18 districts in the Ashanti Region, 86 in five districts in the Western Region and 49 in six districts in Bono East, he disclosed.

The rest of the cases came from the Northern Region, where 26 cases were recorded in three districts; Central recorded 25 new cases in three districts, Eastern had 18 cases in six districts, while Western North recorded four new cases in two districts, he added.

He said the Savannah Region recorded four new cases in one district, Upper West had three cases in one district, Oti had two cases in one district, Bono East recorded one case from one district, while Volta had one new case in a district.

Three regions did not record any new cases within the period, he said.

However, Dr Kuma-Aboagye observed that Ghana’s COVID-19 death rate had decreased from 0.63 per cent to 0.58 per cent.

Some 129 deaths have been recorded so far.

Safety in schools

The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, who presented an update on measures adopted to ensure the safety of final-year students in senior high schools (SHSs) and junior high schools (JHSs), noted that the government had put in place the right measures that would ensure their safety. 

He said 684 people who came into contact with the eight people who had tested positive for the virus at the Accra Girls’ SHS had been identified by health officials, noting that  the situation was under control.

“A case was reported to the health bay of a very distinguished school in Accra serving young women on June 29, 2020. They quickly identified that it might be symptoms of COVID-19. Subsequently, other students started showing similar symptoms and they were all quickly quarantined prior to the testing. When test results came in, unfortunately we had six students testing positive for COVID-19.

“They were immediately isolated and taken care of and their parents were informed to bring down the anxiety. An instructor and his wife who tested positive have also been isolated,” Dr Adutwum said.

He empathised with the concerns of parents who stormed the Accra Girls’ SHS demanding the release of the children, but added: “Taking your child away at this point is not a very good option. I speak with you now, we are on top of the medical side of things and the Ghana Education Service is also on top of the education side of things,” he added.

The deputy minister encouraged parents that counsellors had been sent to the school to uplift the psychological welfare of students and teachers.

“We understand that in the midst of all the anxiety, it is difficult for students to study, but counsellors are on-site now looking at ways in which they can help the students recompose themselves and begin the preparations ahead,” he said.

Zongo infections 

The Minister of Inner-City and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid , who was at the briefing on COVID-19 updates, called on residents of Zongo communities to observe the COVID-19 protocols, saying the protocols were in accordance with Islamic teachings.

He said the call had become necessary following the rise in COVID-19 infections in Zongo communities in recent times.

He said the protocols that had been adopted to help curb the spread of the virus were congruent with the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and must be observed strictly by all persons of the Islamic faith.

“In recent times, there are concerns that people are beginning to be complacent in our Zongo communities, for which reason the protocols are not being observed,” he said.

Dr Abdul-Hamid encouraged residents of Zongo communities to eschew complacency in the fight against the virus to help reduce the rate of infections.