The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has lauded the country’s management of the novel coronavirus.
Ghana’s COVID-19 total case count as at Sunday, July 26, stands at 32,969 with the number of active cases being 3,307.
29,494 have recovered and been discharged, and 168 persons have passed away.
In his 14th televised address to the nation on how Ghana has handled the widespread disease, Akufo-Addo asserted that the country is quite close in containing the pandemic.
“Fellow Ghanaians, we are in the fifth month of the outbreak of COVID-19 on our shores. At first glance, it is alarming to see that 32,969 people have so far contracted the virus. But a closer look at the data will tell you that we are steadily on the path towards limiting and containing the virus, and, ultimately, defeating it.”
He further explained this by comparing the trend of the number of cases over time.
He disclosed that the country’s recovery rate has increased by 89.5% within a month.
He noted, “When I delivered Update No. 13, the number of active cases in the country, i.e. those who, as at 27th June, 2020, had the virus, stood at 4,245. As at midnight of 24th July, nearly a month later, the number of active cases in Ghana stands at 3,307. Again, a month ago, the number of recoveries stood at 12,994. Today, it is 29,494. This means our recovery rate has improved from 75% of positives, a month ago, to 89.5%, all in one month currently.”
New discharge policy
The huge number of COVID-19 recoveries can be attributed to a new discharge policy implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The new discharge policy is largely centred on the de-isolation of asymptomatic cases and asymptomatic cases responding to treatment.
The WHO believes that persons infected with COVID-19 who show mild or no symptoms after 10 to 14 days are not infectious.
What the new WHO scientific evidence has established means that after 10 days of the disease onset, asymptomatic, or patients who do not show symptoms stand a very limited chance of transmitting the disease.
The asymptomatic patients, therefore, would be discharged without a second test as was done before after being in isolation for 14 days.
Concern over the discharges and consequent recovery figures emerged after the new protocols introduced by the WHO since only persons with COVID-19 symptoms [active cases] were to be focused on, according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The GHS, in attempts to give more explanation on this, classified these discharges as clinical recoveries, hence the huge number of people who are deemed recovered from COVID-19.
At a press briefing, the Director-General of the Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said the current use of the term “discharge” would be more accurately described as a “clinical recovery”.
“Maybe the word discharge is what is causing confusion. It is a clinical recovery,” he noted after a question on the matter.
Explaining further, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said, “if you have malaria and you are treated and you are fine, we can decide to do a test. We can also discharge you because you are symptom-free and the explanation also shows that you are not going to be infectious and those people, having been discharged, are not going to be sick again.”
“They [those discharged] have all recovered and for the purpose of work and social functions, they are out in society and that is what we where we want to leave it.”