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Ashanti Region: 97 health workers test positive for COVID-19

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor

Ninety-seven health workers in the Ashanti Region have contracted the Coronavirus disease with one death.

They include 18 doctors and 47 nurses, with the rest being auxiliary workers such as cleaners, contact tracers, physician assistants and administrative staff.

The Ashanti Regional Director of Health, Dr Emmanuel Tenkorang, who made this known at a press briefing in Kumasi, 14 of the workers had recovered and were doing well while the other 82 were being managed at home.

He explained that the changing signs and symptoms of the virus were posing a great danger to the health workers as many of them were being exposed inadvertently.

Dr Tenkorang said because some of the patients did not report with the known symptoms of the disease, “before they are diagnosed of having coronavirus, the health workers have already been exposed. Most of the cases being recorded lately present with malaria-like symptoms and general malaise”.

Treatment centres full

Dr Tenkorang also noted that the two coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment centres in Kumasi have run out of beds and are unable to admit new patients.

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), which has the capacity of 18 beds and the Kumasi South Hospital at Agogo, which also serves as the Regional Hospital with 20 beds, are both full as a result of the increase in the number of cases being recorded in the region.

The region currently has 2,403 positive cases with 38 deaths.

Concerns

The director expressed worry about the rising cases in the region and appealed to residents to strictly adhere to the protocols and guidelines on safety to stem the spread.

He said the region could be overwhelmed with cases if the people failed to change their attitudes and continue to behave in wanton disregard of safety protocols such as social distancing, washing of hands with soap under running water and wearing of nose masks.

In the region, the KATH is the only facility with four ventilators; the other centres have none.

Dr Tenkorang said plans were advanced for the expansion of the Kumasi South Hospital (KSH) treatment centre to increase its capacity to 41 beds, while seven beds had been secured at the Suntreso Hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 cases.

He said a senior medical officer had also agreed to offer his facility as a treatment centre and when “that happens, we will have a total of 138-bed capacity for treatment”.

The director further said there was the need for the establishment of more isolation centres to cater for the rising cases in the region.

Currently, the isolation centre can only take 207 people “and luckily for us most of them were discharged yesterday”, Dr Tenkorang said, adding “we are in talks with the Ghana Registered Nurses Association who have also agreed to offer their hostel as an isolation centre”.