GHS defends new protocols; says COVID-19 discharges are the same as recoveries

The Ghana Health Service will continue to count recoveries and discharges for the novel coronavirus together despite concerns of observers who insist they should be kept apart.

At a press briefing on Tuesday morning, the Director-General of the Ghana Health 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."

According to him, the service is still studying the duration of the protection one gets after first contracting the virus, but "currently we don't have any reinfections."

The concern over the discharges emerged after the new discharge protocols introduced by the service.

Per the new protocols, patients who are asymptomatic are discharged 14 days after their initial positive test.

For symptomatic patients, if they respond to treatment 14 days after testing positive, they are discharged after a further three days without any symptoms.

The service said this review will focus attention onto active cases of the virus and ease resource constraints.

"The active cases are of concern as far as clinical management and isolation are concerned," Dr. Kuma-Aboagye reiterated.

The review of the protocols led to an over 100 percent jump in coronavirus recoveries.

Ghana currently has 10,907 recovered persons, in line with the new protocols and 14,568 total cases.

Initially, to count as a recovery, an infected person needed to record two consecutive negative tests.