Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), on Monday attributed the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country to non-adherence to the safety protocols.
He said the refusal to wear face masks was a major cause of the hike, coupled with the non-adherence to the testing guidelines such as self-referrals and inadequate surveillance information before testing, particularly among the walk-in testing centres and some laboratories.
He said consequently, as at Monday, November 9, the total number of COVID-19 cases nationwide was 49,302; recovered/discharged 47,843, active cases; 1,139, critical/severe cases; 15, and deaths 320.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said on October 16, there were 398 active cases and 310 deaths whereas on November 3, there were 973 active cases and 320 deaths; adding that the additional deaths had occurred earlier and were updated on the national database.
At a press briefing in Accra, he noted that from October 1 to 14, there were 432 new cases, while from October 15 to 31, there were 1,229 new cases.
The number of active cases had increased from 469 as of October 15 to 973 on November 3.
The Director-General said the increase in cases were largely from the central districts of Greater Accra Region, imported cases detected at the Kotoka International Airport, and the focal outbreak in the Nursing Training College in Berekum in the Bono Region with 83 cases, which had been contained.
He said the remaining 14 regions of the country had relatively remained calm despite continued testing with no or very low cases being reported.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said there had not been any reported COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of October and that there was no apparent increase in hospitalisation.
He said a study by the GHS indicated that the proportions of people wearing masks correctly had dropped from 44.3 per cent to 10 per cent (five per cent in some settings).
The Director-General indicated that those not wearing masks at all had increased from 18 per cent to 72 per cent over the five surveys (August – October); stating that there had been moderate improvement in proportions of people not wearing mask correctly.
Regarding the Greater Accra Region, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said cases had surged over the last two weeks adding that from an average of 25 cases a day, the Region currently recorded an average of 101 cases a day.
All the 29 districts within the Greater Accra Region had recorded increases in the number of cases, he said.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS would soon launch a special campaign to promote the wearing of face masks as part of measures to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, appealed to the security agencies to ensure that people complied with the wearing of face masks as part of efforts to prevent a second wave.
He appealed to operators of businesses in enclosed spaces to ensure full compliance with the wearing of masks.
Concerning the situation at the Ayawaso West Municipality, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, the Director Public Health, GHS, said 600 cases had been reported over two months.
“This is largely due to the fact that five testing laboratories report their tests through the Ayawaso West District: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Nyaho Medical Laboratory, MDS Lancet, CSIR Laboratory and LEDing Laboratory,” he said.
He said less than 10 per cent of the positive cases actually resided in the District and that the remaining 90 per cent of cases were walk-ins to the various laboratories from other districts and regions.