Ghana Health Service changes COVID-19 discharging guidelines; No more tests

Ghana has reviewed its COVID-19 discharge policy to ease pressure on health facilities, among others.

At a press briefing on Thursday morning, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Aboagye, explained that the review will affect patients who do not display symptoms of the virus and patients whose symptoms die down during treatment.

For patients who are asymptomatic, "14 days after the initial positive, we will discharge you without a test."

For symptomatic patients "you will do 14 days after testing positive and if you are without symptoms you are discharged after three days without symptoms," Dr. Aboagye outlined.

The change in policy is in line with revised guidelines by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The initial WHO policy was a test based strategy.

"Initially, because the numbers were few, this was an adequate policy but with an increased number of cases, it brought to the fore some challenges," Dr. Aboagye noted.

Each person had a minimum of three tests and according to the service, the average time for testing negative twice was 14 days based on a sample of 146 cases.

But the service is now of the view that "because [infected persons without symptoms] don't pose any threat, you may now do your negative test at home and then come for review."

With the review in policy, Dr. Aboagye expects that "quite a significant number of people who still remain on our books because their lab results are not in will now be discharged unless they have conditions."

"We hope that will also allow us more time to focus on the new case and be able to give more attention to this who are newly positive and then also create space in our facilities to take care of new cases," he added.