COVID-19: Symptomatic persons to be prioritised for testing as GHS clears backlog of 23,000 samples

BY: Jasmine Arku

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, says henceforth, his outfit would prioritise testing of persons who show symptoms of the coronavirus disease when they report to a health facility.

He said the move is to ensure that there was no backlog of COVID-19 samples as well as make test results available within 48 hours.

According to Dr Kuma-Aboagye, the country currently has 23,000 samples waiting to be tested for the Coronavirus disease.

“The numbers I presented today, some of them date back to 22nd June; that’s a month ago. The results really means nothing to the people who have been tested whether they are positive or negative. That will be the policy so that we dont get more backlog so that within 48 hours those who are sick will get their results,” he said at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday.

“In order not to perpetuate backlog, we are currently going to focus on symptomatic cases. That is those who come in sick with suspected cases of COVID-19 will be given priority in terms of testing,” he said.

He added that contacts of persons who have also tested positive for the disease would be prioritised, as well as exposed health workers, students and travellers.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye explained that special cases would however be made.

“For example, if somebody dies and we are not too sure if it was COVID or not, for proper handling, we need to go back to the district and find those samples to be identified and tested. We don’t want a situation when we are going back to do a lot of tests,” he explained.

Case count

As at Tuesday, July 21, Ghana’s COVID-19 case count was 28,989, with 25,331 recoveries and 153 deaths.

The number of active cases stood at 3,505.

Of the total number of active cases, 82 per cent were asymptomatic while 18 per cent were symptomatic.

Of the 18 per cent who were symptomatic, 26 were in severe conditions, eight in critical conditions, while four were on ventilators.