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COVID-19: Referrals needed for free testing – Ghanaians told

Government-run laboratories will not be able to attend to persons seeking COVID-19 tests without referrals.

Since the government directed all public health testing laboratories not to charge residents in Ghana for COVID-19 testing, some labs have said they received walk-ins without the necessary referrals.

The Head of Public Health and Reference Laboratories, Dr. Gifty Boateng, used an interview with Citi TV to highlight the fact that “you can’t just walk into the lab to be tested.”

She explained that individuals who suspect they may have been infected with the coronavirus are supposed to go to the closest clinic and begin processes for their samples to be taken for testing by ensuring the necessary data is put into a system for data gathering.

“We test and give the results to the same system. Results are not given to people who feel like they are sick who walk directly to us,” Dr. Gifty Boateng said.

“We have had a lot of people walking indirectly because they have heard now it is free,” she added.

“So they come directly to us but now what we do is we educate them and direct them to the appropriate quarters.“

The data collected will eventually be needed for contact tracing processes should a sample be confirmed to be positive for COVID-19.

“When you are positive, the lab doesn’t do contact tracing, so we will not be able to follow up and give you the necessary attention [without referrals].”

The directive for free tests came as Ghana’s active coronavirus cases surged from 1,330 cases at the beginning of January to 5,515 active cases at the beginning of February.

The Ghana Health Service has recorded 424 deaths from the virus out of 67,782 confirmed cases whilst 61,843 persons have recovered or have been discharged after infections.

Currently, all 16 regions in the country have registered Coronavirus cases with the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, and Central regions leading with the highest rate of infections.

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