The Head of Covid-19 Centre and Emergency Department at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge), Dr. Emmanuel Ahiable fears the impact of the third wave of Covid-19 may be dire should the current situation go beyond one more month in the country.
It was a busy day at the Ridge hospital on Friday July 30, 2021 as all medical staff were seen moving from one ward to the other with others having to rush in and out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in an attempt to save lives.
Dr. Ahiable said the ICU unit which currently has sixteen (16) bed capacity is also in need of more human resources to contain the situation.
He explained that unlike the first and second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the third wave is beginning to bite as few doctors and nurses at the Ridge hospital have to spend more hours with the patients at the ICU.
“The doctors have to work for twelve hours instead of the usual eight hours; there is not enough intensive care unit staff, the few one’s we have are having to spend more hours with the covid-19 patients because per their condition, they need to be monitored, the staff may breakdown should the situation continue like this for weeks”.
The Republic Press can report that all sixteen (16) bed capacity of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital is full with patients in severe conditions.
“Most of them have underlying diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems” Dr. Ahiable said
The Republic Press has observed that not only is the sixteen bed capacity ICU full but the eight(8) bed capacity holding Centre for suspected covid-19 patients is also full.
Five (5) persons at the holding Centre have been confirmed to be positive of the virus.
Dr. Ahiable explained that ideally, the holding Centre is a place for only suspected covid-19 patients however because the ICU is full the hospital is forced to keep confirmed positive patients at the holding Centre.
An old man believed to be above sixty (60) years and a young lady sat in a plastic chair with drip on them receiving treatment on the corridors of the ICU. This makes the number of severe cases at the ICU at the time of visit eighteen (18) plus five (5) patients at the holding Centre.
Our checks at the testing Centre at the hospital revealed that out of the twenty-two (22) test conducted, ten(10) have tested positive for covid-19 today Friday July 30, 2021 at around 3:30pm.
These people were people who came to the emergency department with different health issues but were detected to have symptoms of covid-19.
Dr. Ahiable explained that the hospital has measures in place to quickly identify people who walk into the emergency department showing covid-19 symptoms so they do not infect others.
A PCR test is done at the hospital which takes about a day for the outcome. While awaiting their results, the suspected covid-19 patients are isolated and kept at the holding Centre until the results are ready.
“Once you are confirmed positive, we begin treatment and depending on your condition you may be transferred to the ICU for monitoring”.
Although there were no covid-19 patients on ventilator at the time of visit, Dr. Ahiable said “most of them have severe cases because they have underlying diseases but we are managing them and they are all doing well”.
He commended the government for providing adequate supply of oxygen for the hospital.
“As we speak the hospital has no ventilator issue, the government has done well to supply us with enough oxygen”.
Dr. Ahiable cautioned the public to strictly adhere to the covid-19 protocols given that the delta variant is “tricky in nature, the public must always keep their mask on because it is the only way to limit the damage of the third wave”.
“Unlike the previous cases where you see people coughing and sneezing, with this delta variant you might have it and think is malaria. You may feel headache or tiredness so unless you check, you may not know”. He added
Only one patient currently at the holding Centre has fully been vaccinated. This Dr. Ahiable explained that “you can get infected even after taking the two doses just that your condition may not be severe”.
The current covid-19 active cases stands at 5,397 with 831 deaths recorded. Also, 394 fresh cases have been confirmed.
Since mid-March 2020, a total of 103,789 people have had the virus in the country. Out of this number, 97,561 have recovered.