Leader of Ghana’s Covid-19 test team, Dr. Samuel Kaba Akoriyea has cautioned patients who have recovered from the disease against complacency because they could get infected again.
So far Ghana has not recorded any cases of reinfection, but the health expert says it will be too early to rejoice.
“It’s possible that such a thing can happen. Covid-19 is a learning process so we can’t say that it might not happen”.
According to case managers, the strict protocol of carrying out multiple tests before a patient is declared recovered, is part of reasons why they have not had any case come back.
They have also mapped out a strategy to trace, capture, and re-treat recovered patients who may test positive again as has been recorded in other jurisdictions across the world.
Dr. Akoriyea said the team has made it a point to always create a relationship with clients and the various Institutions where they undergo treatment, including escorting them to their homes as a measure of surveillance.
“When we say you have recovered, that is not the end of the story between you and us. There is a long relationship. First week, second week, and a month after being discharged, you’ll come for review” Dr. Kaba said.
It has also come to light that case managers occasionally go beyond Covid-19 test by conducting scans and x-rays, outcomes of which determine whether a patient is discharged or detained even after testing negative.
Responding to that concern, Dr. Kaba said “sometimes we look at them, if we are not too satisfied with your recovery status even after testing negative, we ran CT scan and x-rays to make sure that your chest is clean and you are actually going home”.
There are concerns about the possibility of a new wave of infection, and a reactivation of the virus among recovered patients could be a major driver of that wave if it does happen.
In a related development, scientists from the Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has found that patients who test positive for the coronavirus weeks after recovering from Covid-19 probably aren’t capable of transmitting the infection.
The scientists studied 285 Covid-19 survivors who had tested positive for the coronavirus after their illness had apparently resolved, as indicated by a previous negative test result.
The so-called re-positive patients weren’t found to have spread any lingering infection, and virus samples collected from them couldn’t be grown in culture, indicating the patients were shedding non-infectious or dead virus particles.
The findings, reported late Monday, are a positive sign for regions looking to open up as more patients recover from the pandemic that has sickened at least five million people.
The emerging evidence from South Korea suggests those who have recovered from Covid-19 present no risk of spreading the coronavirus when physical distancing measures are relaxed.