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COVID-19: Death toll in Ghana hits 752, over 580,000 vaccinated

At least four more persons have died of COVID-19 taking Ghana’s death toll to 752, a Ghana Health Service (GHS) update revealed.

The country’s active cases have also dropped marginally to 1,451 after 46 new coronavirus cases were confirmed at the laboratories.

As of 2 April 2021, the GHS reports that the country’s total confirmed cases increased to 90,946 out of which 88,743 have recovered.

So far, 21 cases have been classified as severe while 11 remain critical, according to GHS. Cases detected at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are 1,348  with 1,245  recoveries so far.

Vaccination

So far 587, 892 persons have been vaccinated across the country as of 3 April  2021, the GHS said.

Breakdown of regional cases: 

Greater Accra Region – 50,217

Ashanti Region – 15,356

Western Region – 5,715

Eastern Region – 4,134

Central Region – 3,294

Volta Region – 2,385

Northern Region – 1,644

Bono East Region – 1,420

Bono Region – 1,334

Upper East Region – 1,305

Western North Region – 851

Ahafo Region – 703

Upper West Region – 491

Oti Region – 406

North East Region – 223

Savannah Region – 120

Ghana to begin COVID-19 antigen test

Meanwhile, Ghana will soon introduce COVID-19 antigen test to improve and enhance testing for coronavirus, Prof William Ampofo, head of the virology department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has said

Prof Ampofo said this was part of a national plan to make testing easily accessible throughout the country.

Presently, COVID-19 laboratories conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests only to manage the patients, while antigen screening and testing is done only at the airport.

Prof Ampofo said the government intended to have complimentary antigen testing together with PCR testing to enhance the COVID-19 testing process.

He said Ghana had received over 75,000 antigen test kits from the African medical supply platform from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was being validated by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

He said antigen testing was able to read and detect the COVID-19 virus and whole antigen particle quite fast.

“Antigen test also known as the rapid test is faster and cheaper than the PCR. The PCR can take about three hours to detect a virus which the antigen test does in 15 minutes” he said.

He said the FDA had reviewed and registered about four devices for antigen tests.

Professor Ampofo said when rolled out, antigen testing would be done under the educational programme where health facilities had been marked to schools so that suspected cases could be quickly screened and tested for timely interventions.

“One thing we know about antigen and PCR testing is that, when you are infectious and producing the virus particle, the antigen is positive so at that time antigen test complements that PCR test,” he noted.

An antigen test also referred to as a rapid test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus.

It can be done in a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital. Turnaround time for results is usually very quick and in some cases, results can be reported within 15 minutes.

PCR test on the other hand detects genetic materials that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.

The test can be done in a clinic, hospital, or even in your car. Turnaround time is longer, generally in the two to the three-day range but results can be in as little as 24 hours. When demand is high, results can take a week or longer.

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