Health facilities under pressure as infections surge

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Dr Frank Serebour, President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says many doctors and nurses have tested positive to COVID-19 and have been isolated due to the surge in infections in the last two weeks.

He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that presently, most health facilities in Accra, Kumasi, Ahafo and beyond were under pressure due to the absence of health workers at the post to manage the situation and attend to patients.

He said Ghana was heading towards a fourth wave with the recent surge in cases, which were clearly not going to decrease, due to non-adherance to the safety protocols.

“What is scarier is the kind of activities we are having all over the place, the various concerts happening in Accra and Kumasi, the kind of crowd that these activities have pulled, too many people are not adhering to the safety protocols, not wearing a mask and social distancing is even not possible,”.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) COVID-19 update page shows that 6,952 new cases were recorded from Dec.15 to 24.

Similarly, 22 more COVID-19 deaths were recorded within the period.

The data also showed that the daily number of new COVID-19 cases has increased from about hundreds to over 1, 000 infections per day in the last two weeks.

According to the GHS, the total active cases of COVID-19 in the country stood at 8,554 as of December 24,On Monday the number of active cases was updated twice from 5, 113 to 6,361 in the morning and to 7,353 in the evening.

Dr Serebour informed that the surge in cases was beginning to reflect in Out Patient Department (ODP) attendance, saying the updates on the page were not tests done from random samples but rather test results of sick persons who visited the hospitals.

“Most people come in feeling sick with signs and symptoms of malaria, but when you screen them, they test positive to COVID-19, the good thing is that we have not recorded any critical cases amidst these infections and so even though we have seen that infections are on the rise, there are only a few severe cases,” he said.

He said although there was some Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for use by health workers , there was an urgent need for the GHS to start distributing more PPEs to hospitals nationwide to serve as a buffer should the cases keep rising.

“Currently we are not struggling for PPEs, but if we look at the trajectory of the cases, it is likely the PPEs available now may not be enough,” the GMA President said.

Dr Frankline Asiedu-Bekoe, Director of Public Health at the GHS, told the Ghana News Agency that more cases were being recorded in the country due to the presence of the Omicron variant.

Ghana, on December 1, recorded its first case of the Omiricon Variant, since then, 34 cases of the variant have been recorded at the Kotoka International Airport with seven cases detected in the community.

“Two weeks ago, we were recording 40 cases a day but now we are recording more than 200 news cases in a day,” he said.

He said presently there were not many cases on admission at the ICUs because most on the cases being recorded were mild.

He called on the unvaccinated to visit the vaccination centres to receive their jabs, adhere to the protocols and protect themselves during the festive season saying, “You need to carefully choose where you go to as you celebrate the Christmas because the more you aggregate the higher your risk of contracting the virus.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.

However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention, anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell and sore throat.

The Ghana Health Service has advised Ghanaians to protect themselves from the virus by observing the safety protocols, such as wearing a nose mask, observing social distancing, washing hands with soap under running water, observing social distancing and avoiding handshakes.

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