Samples of 78 persons who came into contact with a 27-year old Togolese man, who is the first person to test positive of COVID-19 in the Bono Region, have been sent to the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) for testing.
They include immigration officials, police personnel and court officials who have been identified and listed as those who have had contacts with the Togolese national who entered the country through Sampa in the Jaman North District.
The 27-year old Togolese and nine others were arrested by officials of the Ghana Immigration Service on April 28, 2020 for illegally entering the country, arraigned before a court in Berekum and quarantined afterwards for testing.
Test results received on May 6, 2020 from the KCCR showed that only the 27-year old Togolese out of the 10 tested positive of the coronavirus disease, thus making the Bono Region the 13th region to contract the disease.
Earlier reports indicated that the Togolese had for some time now been assisting other nationals to enter Ghana through unapproved routes until his apprehension on April 28, this year.
Addressing the media in Sunyani today [Friday, May 8, 2020], the Bono Regional Director of Health, Dr Kofi Issah explained that 61 out of the 78 contacts were recorded at Sampa while the remaining 17 contacts were recorded at Berekum.
He explained that all the 78 contacts had been quarantined while awaiting for their results.
He said contact tracing was still ongoing to identify people who might have being in contact with the Togolese.
“Even if the results of their tests prove negative after 14 days, they will still be quarantined for another 14 days for us to be double sure that they are not carrying the virus”, Dr Issah stated.
He, therefore, called on residents in the Jaman North District who came into contact with the Togolese but were yet to be identified to show up to make the ongoing contact tracing exercise successful.
Dr Issah called on the media to intensify their education on the need for resident in the region to observe all the precautionary protocols outlined by the Ghana Health Service now that the region had had its first case of COVID-19.
He explained that while the wearing of face masks was very important, it should be done alongside the routine handwashing with soap under running water and social distancing.
Dr Issah warned against the occasional touching of the face masks explaining that the practice could contaminate the masks and thereby posed a threat to those wearing them to contract COVID-19 and other viruses.
Answering a question on the need for a COVID-19 testing centre in the region, Dr Issah announced that plans were far advanced for the provision of the necessary machinery and equipment for the Kintampo Centre for Health Research (KCHR).
That, according to him, would enable results of samples collected on suspected carriers of COVID-19 to be done and released early enough to avoid the delays that characterise the current situation where they sent to KCCR in KUmasi.
In a statement read on her behalf, the Bono Regional Minister, Mrs Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson stated that the remaining nine immigrants had been handed over to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and the National Security for further action.
She stated that the Regional COVID-19 Response Team had stepped up surveillance in all the 12 districts and municipalities to gain a broader picture of the state of infection within the region and thereby respond appropriately.
“I urge everyone in the region to adhere fully to the hygiene protocols as announced by the President and the Ghana Health Service. There should be no cause for fear and panic. Let us remain calm while observing the requisite social distancing protocols and wearing of face masks”, she pleaded.