Only one junior high school is known to have recorded a case of COVID-19, the Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie, has said.
He told journalists at the Ministry of Information’s bi-weekly press conference on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 that the school is located in the Oti Region.
“The only reported JHS with a case is in the Oti Region”, he disclosed, adding: “Just one”.
He said: “I think they are probably adhering to the protocols more than the others”.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, has said calls for the closure of schools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, are misplaced.
“Closure of schools from the health point is not the best option”, Prof Opoku Amankwah said on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 at the Ministry of Information’s bi-weekly press briefing, adding: “It is best we keep them in schools because if we decide to let them go home, then we might as well close down the whole country”.
“From what we have been told, they are asymptomatic, so, they are able to go about their studies”, he said.
He said “sending them home will be disastrous.”
Prior to the press conference, a joint statement from the GES and the Ghana Health Service had said Accra Girls’ Senior High School has recorded the most cases of COVID-19 among senior high schools from the first report to date.
“As of 13 July 2020, a total of 314 persons (student and staff) from the School have been tested. Out of these, 55 have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 while 259 persons tested negative”, the statement co-signed by the Directors-General of GES and GHS, respectively, Prof Opoku-Amankwa and Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.
It said following the first report of COVID-19 cases in some SHSs in the country on 6 July 2020, the GHS and GES instituted a number of measures to determine the extent of the outbreak and containment measures.
Actions taken so far:
• Identification and segregation of contact from other students
• Sample collection and laboratory testing of all contacts identified and
• All confirmed cases have been transferred to designated national
treatment and isolation centres for management
• Restriction of number of students that attend dining at a particular time
• Enforcement of social distancing protocols, enhanced hand hygiene
practices and the proper use of the facemask • Disinfection of the entire school has been carried out
• Adequate PPEs have been provided to health staff stationed in the school
• Education on COVID-19 prevention and control has been intensified within
the school • Counselling and psychological support is being provided to the students
• The school has designated a quarantine and isolation centre
• Parents and guardians of affected student have been duly contacted
• Staff of the school have been reassured Similarly, the statement said “a few other schools have reported sporadic cases, which have not experience a surge. To prevent spread of COVID-19 in senior high schools across the country, similar measures are being implemented”.
The GES and GHS assured the public that “efforts are being made to ensure the safety of our staff and students”.