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Surges in COVID-19 cases: GHS races to secure facilities

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it has taken steps to ease pressure on various health facilities providing care for COVID-19 patients as infections continue to rise in the country.

Head of Disease Surveillance Department of the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe told the Ghanaian Times in an interview yesterday that reports of over stretch on facilities were partly because of the Service’s review of its COVID-19 management and care guidelines.

“Originally, if you are positive and an international traveller, you are assessed if you have any symptoms, any underlying conditions and whether your home environment is conducive for home management so you are put under such care but we realised a lot of people were not abiding by the guidelines.

So, we changed the protocols and said that every person who is an international traveller who enters the country will do a mandatory seven days isolation and all these people were being managed in the health facilities and  occupying the treatment centres so this together, with increasing cases put lot of pressure on the hospitals,” he explained.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe thus indicated that the GHS has secured some facilities including hotels, the 65-bed COVID-19 isolation centre at Pantang and the 100-bed infectious disease centre at the Ga East Hospital, to augment care and management of cases.

“Pantang will now take care of international travellers who are asymptomatic and were undergoing home management. We are also getting another facility at Dodowa ready and that will help free the system and give space to treat critically ill and complicated cases in the hospitals,” he noted.

The Deputy Director, Public Health said unlike other regions, it was the Greater Accra Region that was experiencing a surge in infections hence more facilities being secured to manage cases and promote effective care.

“The other regions are not overstretched so clearly whatever surge we are seeing over the past 10 days is in Accra and we are working to minimise the threat,” he stated.

On the issue of personal protective equipment (PPE), Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said the GHS would continue to resource health workers with them to guard against infections.

He entreated the public to continue adhering strictly to all preventive protocols against the COVID-19 particularly the wearing of face mask and regular washing of hands.

“Managing COVID is not an individual affair; people should not be worried about cases going up. What we should be doing is to abide by the protocols because the failure of doing so is what is giving rise to the recent infections we are seeing.

People have placed signages of ‘no mask, no entry’ yet no one is wearing a mask when you enter and that is worrying.  We will have little to worry about if we all wear the face masks so all Ghanaians must come on board,” he advised.

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) had raised alarm over health facilities in the Accra metropolis being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, calling for a review in current COVID-19 management strategies.

The GMA had among others called for a scale up in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing mechanisms as education on all necessary COVID-19 protocols are intensified.

Currently, Ghana has 1,404 active cases of COVID-19 with 341 deaths.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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