Tertiary institutions in the Volta Region have suspended all in-person gatherings for two weeks due to the recent COVID-19 cases recorded in various schools.
Deputy Health Director in charge of Public Health, Dr. Senanu Dzokoto says other forms of social gatherings have also been put on hold for the same period, as part of the recommendations to the tertiary institutions to curb the spread of the virus.
Dr. Dzokoto added that students showing symptoms have been isolated and are being monitored.
“We have engaged the stakeholders that are involved. The institutions are now as part of recommendations to hold all forms of all lectures virtually. So there won’t be any in-person meetings. Every form of gathering has been suspended, at least for the next two weeks. So no social gatherings, religious gatherings for the next two weeks.”
“Adherence to safety protocols among the students has also been enhanced. We are managing those who are positive, and we are monitoring those who have been isolated while those traced have been quarantined, so the opportunity of spread is suppressed”, he added.
He further stated that, although the health sector in the region has been adequately resourced and has the capacity to deliver, the general public must however strictly adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.
“We are having an upsurge in the cases across the country, especially at the regional hotspots. So anytime there are cases in the Greater Accra or Ashanti Region, the Volta Region also records a good number of cases because of the inter-relatedness of the regions. The Volta Region has less than one percent of its population also vaccinated, so for us to achieve herd immunity, we have a long way to go. We have had institutional outbreaks at schools and workplaces. With the schools, the predominant outbreak is in the tertiary schools. They account for close to 30 percent of the cases we have in the Volta Region.”
Shutting down schools unnecessary
The Ghana Health Service had earlier said shutting down schools in the wake of an upsurge in COVID-19 cases won’t be necessary.
The service insisted that the schools are safer for students during this period.
Officials of the GHS made the remark following calls by a section of the public that government should consider closing down schools to curb the spread of the virus among students.
Speaking at a press conference, the Director-General of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said “you are looking at about 11 million pupils in school and if you look at this number, it doesn’t warrant [school closures].”
Though coronavirus cases have been recorded in over 360 schools since January 2021, he said: “it is safer than community spread in the communities.”
“What it is, is that, if you are able to abide by the protocols whether you are in school or at home, you should be able to avert this spread just like so many other schools.”
According to earlier figures from the service, 2,323 students from a total of 363 schools have tested positive for COVID-19 since the resumption of schools in January 2021.