Mr Seth Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister has directed all Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) in the region to enforce COVID-19 preventive protocols to the latter for maximum public safety.
He said wearing of face masks, provision of handwashing stations at all vantage points and social distancing protocols had all been relaxed and should be reviewed and enforced.
Mr Acheampong gave the directive at the Regional Public Health Emergency Committee on COVID-19 meeting in Koforidua to discuss strategies aimed at controlling the recent spike in the region.
He said despite restrictions on social gatherings public adherence was a challenge and urged the MDAs to step up enforcement.
Mr Acheampong who is the Chairman of the Committee and Regional Security Committee said per the staggering statistics and concerns being raised by frontline health workers, “the REGSEC will not hesitate to bring in the security to enforce where necessary in the interest of all of the people.”
He said he had personally observed that pubs and night clubs were operating with no regard to any of the preventive measures and charged the assemblies to step up their enforcement to contain the measure.
Dr Winfred Ofosu, Eastern Regional Director of Health said there was a spike in cases in the Region and therefore needed enforcement to bring the trend down.
He said the daily average of cases had gone up drastically “and the fear is that very soon the health systems and facilities will be overwhelmed so we have to act fast on ensuring compliance of the protocols”.
According to him, the situation was worrying and so “all strategies must be deployed to bring the spike down and the first step was to enforce the restrictions to bring people to comply whiles we look at the other measures as well”.
He said the Regional hospital had a PCR and antigen expert which made testing and treatment fast, however there were issues with the contact tracing in terms of logistics to ensure those traced and tested positive fully complied with the Protocols established.
Dr John Ekow Otoo, Deputy Regional Director of Public Health giving the statistics said between January and first week in August, the Region had recorded 2,555 cases including; 1,123 health workers who were infected and lost six health professionals.
He said all the 33 MDAs had recorded cases with the New Juaben South and Lower Manya Krobo municipalities leading the chart while Kwahu Afram Plains South had the least recorded cases.
He explained that the Regional hospital in Koforidua and the Atua Government hospital at Odumase were referral facilities.
He said due to the spike in cases, health facilities and logistics were overstretched especially the PPE and appealed to the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to support them
He noted that another challenge in containing the pandemic in the region was non-adherence of contacts traced and isolated in homes and also appealed for some kind of support for those persons to isolate in the interest of all.
According to Dr Otoo, the Region lacked isolation centres hence contacts traced and tested positive were isolated in their homes, but failed to comply with the directives of staying home.
He called on the committee to come up with concrete strategies as to how to create isolation centres in the various districts.