COVID-19 death toll rises 60% within one month
COVID-19 deaths have surged by more than a half in the second month of February 2021, as the country prepares large-scale vaccinations.
A total of 577 patients had succumbed to the infection per the last update from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) dated February 18, 2021.
Exactly one month ago, the country had recorded 361 deaths, a difference of 216.
Simultaneously, active cases, which were 2,413, have increased to 6,658 – a significant 175% increase.
The infections are mostly attributed to the UK strain detected in various locations.
All the other parameters have also witnessed a rise within the period.
Critical cases are 29, patients being managed for severe cases 113 and recoveries/discharged persons account for 73, 018.
A total of 80,253 cases have been recorded since the pathogen was detected in Ghana on March 12, 2020.
Meanwhile, over 60 health workers at the Savelugu Municipal Hospital in the Northern Region have tested positive for COVID-19 forcing the facility to suspend services except emergency cases.
This follows mass testing of staff of the hospital after an upsurge of cases in the Savelugu Municipality.
The outlook, however, looks encouraging as new daily infections have slowed.
In mid-January, average daily infections were between 700 and 800 but currently reduced to between 500 and 700.
In his last public address, Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, pointed out, “Active cases not increasing but high at a stagnant position,” Dr Kuma-Aboagye remarked.
Staggered vaccination begins first week in March
As government makes efforts to protect citizens, the first batch of 350,000 COVID-19 vaccines was expected to arrive on Monday, February 22.
A 17.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to be administered in the first half of 2021 as part of an initial push to tackle the contagion.
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has approved the UK’s AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines for Ghana.
The government is also considering Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Government officials, including Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, are expected to take the jabs in public has authorities fight off misconceptions.
A total of 20 million out of the estimated 30 million population are expected to be administered the vaccines.
The deployment would be based on the segmentation of the population.
Phase 1 is expected to cater to health care workers, security personnel and persons with known underlying medical conditions.
About 1,555,475 people are expected to be vaccinated during this phase.
The second phase will include adults above 60 years, secondary and tertiary students, teachers, essential service providers, specialized groups on national assignment, the executive, legislature, judiciary, ministries, civil service and media personnel, covering approximately 6,380,620 people.
The third phase will cover other members of the population, excluding children under 16 years and pregnant women. About 9,523,313 persons will be vaccinated.
It is expected that the deployment will pose huge cold chain logistical challenges, with 15 districts and 7 regional health directorates needing new facilities, including walk-in cold rooms.