How Quarantine Centre Prematurely Released COVID-19 Positive Patient

Dr Henry Mwebesa /File Photo

Kampala, Uganda – The Ministry of Health (MoH) is on the spot after discharging 61 people from quarantine before their results were released. They were discharged on April 10, two days before Easter Sunday.

The individuals had spent 14 days in quarantine at the Survey and Land Management Institute, with no symptoms of coronavirus disease. Their samples were drawn on Thursday, April 9, as one of the procedures before their release. A day later, they were all released, albeit, without the results.

Hell broke loose when one of the discharged individuals tested positive for COVID-19, bringing Uganda’s confirmed cases to 54 that day. The Director-General Health Services, Dr Henry Mwebesa noted that the positive individual was a woman who had arrived from Turkey on March 21 and had been under institutional quarantine when the test was taken. MOH however traced and took her to Entebbe Regional Referral Hospital on Sunday.

A security source told URN that a similar Mistake was made last month when all 44 suspects were released from the Katomi Beach Resort Hotel before results were released, yet still, one of them tested positive. He adds that such incidents discredit efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“The positive person was taken home and was brought to Entebbe Hospital. Her family members and five other people who were at Lands and Survey have been traced and are under quarantine. But 55 people who were discharged from the institute at the same time, are still at large,” the officer says.

The officer in charge of the quarantine centres in Kampala and Entebbe, Captain Dr David Magoba confirmed the incident but says the initial information had some falsehoods. First, he says that the results were released when the positive individual, a woman, was being transported with a government vehicle to her home.

Dr Magoba adds that the woman was travelling with five other people who had also been discharged from the same centre and have since been taken back to the centre for another 14 days. He says that nine police officers and the woman’s two family members have been quarantined at the institute.

Dr Magoba says that the ministry does not have to look for the other 55 people who were discharged because they stayed in separate rooms and were not in contact with the positive woman or those who were in the same vehicle with her on Good Friday.

However, the Entebbe Deputy Residential District Commissioner, Njuki Mbabali the head of the Entebbe security Committee and COVID-19 taskforce, declined to comment on the matter.

The Head of the Uganda Virus Research Institute-UVRI Prof Pontiano Kaleebu says that they receive, test samples and send results to the Ministry of Health on the same day.


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