States Battle COVID-19 With More Testing, Isolation Centres

January 8, 2021
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By our Correspondents  |

Following the spread of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent warning by the federal government, state governments have stepped up measures against the spread of the disease with the opening of more functional isolation centres.

LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that more resources have been mobilised for the establishment of isolation centres in Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps, NYSC camps and general hospitals in the efforts to fight the virus.

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In Jigawa State, four isolation centres are currently functional with all the necessary equipment and manpower to handle any suspected or confirmed case of the virus.

Before the second wave, the state had only one functional isolation centre in Danmasara.

Three additional isolation centres have now been opened to tackle the new challenges. They are the Jahun General Hospital,  Birninkudu Federal Medical Centre and Radhid Shakoni Specialist Hospital Isolation Centre.

The secretary of the COVID-19 Taskforce who is also the permanent secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Salisu Mu’azu, said from the beginning of the second wave in November last year, 54 cases were reported, out of which one death was recorded.

He said 48 patients had been discharged while only four remain at the isolation centers receiving treatment.

In Kwara State, the government is carrying out COVID-19 tests daily. A chart released on January 5, 2021 indicates as follows: Total tests done – 13,215, Confirmed cases–1,496, Active cases-183, Total discharged-1, 281, Negative tests – 11,502, Pending tests-211, Deaths -32.

The isolation centre at the Infectious Diseases Centre, Alagbado, remained open and operational. It was observed that the level of compliance with COVID-19 protocols is very high and the health personnel are well kitted. The centre has adequate and state of arts facilities, our correspondent gathered.

Meanwhile, the Katsina State government said it had mobilsed enough resources to fight the second wave of the disease in the state.

Akwa Ibom Isolation center

Akwa Ibom Isolation center

According to the deputy governor, who is also the chairman of the COVID-19 committee in the state, Mannir Yakubu, a retreat was recently organised to review ways and plan ahead of the second wave, adding that resources were utilised to establish 160-bed isolation centers in the IDP and NYSC camps and two wards in General Amadi Rimi Specialist (Othorpedic) Hospital (GARSH) with 30 beds capacity.

He added that the isolation centre in the General Hospital Daura with an 18-bed capacity is also equipped with drugs to manage cases.

The compliance level among the residents is however very poor as many people are not conscious of the pandemic.

In Rivers State, it was gathered that there is increased testing, leading to the discovery in the number of new cases daily.

The state now records a minimum of 20 cases daily, which prompted Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to threaten to impose some stringent measures if residents of the state continue to flaunt prevention protocols.

LEADERSHIP Friday observed that there are no mobile courts yet in the state to try Covid-19 protocol violators, though wearing of face-masks has been made compulsory for residents.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Rivers State commissioner for health, Professor Princewill Chike, expressed regret that a lot of people were living in self-denial on the possibility of being infected.

Though there is no spike in the spread of COVID-19 in Osun State, the government has continued to make efforts to ensure that the second wave of the pandemic does not take its toll on people of the state.

Osun is one of the states giving priority attention to testing for early discovery of carriers of the virus, especially with the testing laboratory located at the Redeemers University, Ede.

The Akwa Ibom State government has continued to intensify effort on mass testing, especially with its newly inaugurated  300 capacity Polymerase Claim Reaction (PCR) laboratory at the isolation centre  in Ituk Mbang.

The laboratory was approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Before now, the state government’s COVID-19 incident committee used to travel outside the state for testing of samples at Irrua in Edo State.

But with the new isolation centre with an in-built molecular diagnostic laboratory and well kitted trained personnel who carry out tests and interpret results, the state now has unfettered access to multiple testing.

In addition, it was gathered that the multi billion naira Ibom Specialist Hospital and the well equipped isolation and treatment centre have added to the state’s capacity in dealing with the pandemic.

The state COVID-19 incident committee headed by the secretary to the state government, Dr Emmanuel Ekwem with some  notable medical experts as members, has  continued to show commitment with their  weekly briefings to ensure that residents are abreast with the latest information’s about the pandemic.

In Nasarawa State, only 49 tests are conducted daily, according to the director of public health in the Ministry of Health, Doctor Ibrahim Haruna who said going forward, the state would do up to 96 tests in a day.

So far, the state has recorded over 100 COVID- 19 cases in the last one month, he disclosed.

The state government owned Dalharu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH) Lafia, said it had taken delivery of four ventilators preparatory to handling any serious case of corinavirus.

Dr Hassan Ikrama, Chief Medical Director (CDM) of DASH, made the disclosure in an interview with our correspondent.

Elsewhere in Nasarawa State, the publisher of Eggonnews, a community newspaper in the state, Mr Mathew Kuju and three members of his family have tested positive for COVID-19.

This was contained in a statement from Mr. Kuju in Lafia yesterday sent on the Nigeria Union of Journalists whatsapp platform.

He said, “On Monday, Jan. 4, I took my family, six of us, for COVID-19 test in Lafia, although none of us had symptoms of the disease.

“Two days later, the results came out, disclosing that four of us, including myself, are positive. Although still asymptomatic, the four of us have been isolated and are taking laid down treatment”.

Mr Kuju enjoined members of the public to pray for their quick recovery. He also advised residents to present themselves for routine tests, with or without symptoms to ascertain their status and urged Nigerians to always abide by COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by the authorities to curb its spread.

“Coronavirus is real and not a respecter of age or position. Therefore, we all have the responsibility to prevent its spread in our state and Nigeria as a whole,” he said.

In Cross River State, the COVID-19 Taskforce Response Team leader, Dr Betta Edu, said the state is still very passionate on the task of carrying out COVID-19 tests. She said the testing capacity for the state stands at 100 per week, stressing that three new cases were recently discovered in the state.

Edu, who is also the state commissioner for health, added that the isolation centres were never closed even though, the 100-bed isolation centre established by the state government at Adiabo community was vandalized by hoodlums during the #END SARS protest.

She said the state at present has isolation centres at Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital and the Ogoja General Hospital.

The Plateau State commissioner for health, Dr Nenkong Lar, disclosed that the state had recorded 5,174 people who tested positive to COVID-19.

According to him, 43 deaths were also recorded as a result of the pandemic. He stressed that the state had been carrying out tests in three laboratories which include the National Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, Plateau State Specialist Hospital and the TB Reference Centre at the old Jos University Teaching Hospital.

In Benue State, Our Correspondent gathered that the state is yet to establish its own testing center.

The director of Public Health, Dr Terna Kur, who disclosed this to our correspondent, said for now, samples of suspected cases were being taken to the Nigerian Air Force Base Hospital in Màkurdi for testing.

He however added that the state had commenced the building of a molecular laboratory for testing of COVID-19 samples.

When contacted on phone, the chief medical director, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Terrumun Swende, said the isolation and treatment centre at the hospital was very functional and patients were still being admitted there.

Authorities in Bauchi State say they had intensified contact tracing and testing capacity in an effort to curtail the second wave of COVID-19 in the state.

The information officer in the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ibrahim Usman, told LEADERSHIP that the state’s task force on COVID-19 had not relented on its effort to enhance contact tracing and testing.

“Since reports of the possible second wave of the virus started in some countries, the task force has doubled-down on its contact tracing and testing and if you are following updates from our situation room, yesterday there were 18 positive cases and today we had 14 cases”, he said.

He said the state’s surveillance team used to take 120 samples in a day, depending on the kind of reports received, but sometimes it may reach 200.

The information officer however said only one out of the five isolation centres in the state is active in the state.

“So far, all the five isolation centres are temporarily closed, only the one at the Teaching Hospital in Bauchi is functional because we rarely get severe cases, but still, we have been having asymptomatic cases which we manage with the support of our health professionals.

“But at the moment, the state has adopted home management of cases that are not critical or severe just to reduce the cost and ensure sustainability. However, the facilities there are intact and in order not to subject them to plundering, they have been moved to the ICU of the hospitals”, he added.

LEADERSHIP Friday findings revealed that the state government has shortage of testing kits such as hand gloves, facemasks, and other relevant materials that would speed up the collection of samples.

Our correspondent reports that although the mobile courts set up to prosecute offenders are still active, they have not been visible in their prosecution as many people within the metropolis violate protocols.

PTF Accuses Travellers Of Presenting Fake Test Results

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has expressed concern at the high level of presentation of fake COVID-19 test results by Nigerians who wish to travel abroad.

Speaking at the PTF briefing in Abuja yesterday, the chairman of the task force and secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, said it was not only a bad thing to do but also put the country in a very bad light.

He stated that it had become embarrassing to note that some Nigerians continued to present fake results when travelling outside the country.

“This remains a major source of concern to the federal government,” he said.

He further noted that the PTF had directed private laboratories to immediately put in place measures to validate results and ensure that all passengers are registered on the travel portal before samples are processed to stop this activity.

The PTF chairman also noted that the PTF was very concerned about the increasing daily numbers that we are being recorded.

“On January 6, 2021, we recorded 1,664 infections. This is yet another all-time high in Nigeria and we must all take full responsibility through compliance and vigilance. It is better to wear a face mask than being on a ventilator,” he said.

While urging Nigerians to abide by the COVID-19 protocols, he said, “We have consistently appealed to all Nigerians to stay safe and act in the most defensive and protective ways by complying with the non-pharmaceutical interventions already prescribed. We urge you all, at this point, to rise and be our brothers’ keepers by taking the expected responsibility. Remind your neighbour to do the right thing in view of the imminent danger facing us as a country and the world in general.

“Our records show that our test per million (TPM) is at 4,695 while our test positivity rate (TPR) is at 9.6 percent and our Case Fatality

Rate has increased to 3 percent having recorded 1,324 deaths, these data are not encouraging. Nigeria just crossed the one million mark for testing across the federation.  Testing remains a key strategy of our national response.

“The PTF urges the sub-nationals to revamp testing and contact tracing in the bid to curb the menace of this dreaded virus. It is only through testing that we can know our status and treat early if infected. This will provide among other things, evidence for effective feedback, course correction, experience learning and sharing, as well as optimize documentation systems for future reference.

“Efforts are being made to increase the supply of oxygen to our health facilities across the country. Mr. President has approved the establishment of at least one new oxygen plant in each state of the federation, while the existing ones will be made fully functional. We continue to thank the private sector as well as the Nigerian Air Force for their continued support.

“As the government is working round the clock to secure safe and right vaccines for the country, we call on the media, traditional and religious as well as our community leaders to pass the right message to their followers so that together, we can win this war against this virus.

“To overcome some of these challenges, the PTF will intensify the risk communication and community engagement to create awareness. The sheer level of doubts about the virus is alarming and I call on every one to become advocates in support of the national response.

“The PTF is working to develop new health protection regulations to support existing COVID-19 protocols and strengthen compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions across the country.”

Mustapha also noted that the PTF was aware that the world is at a critical phase of infections.

Africa’s Cases Near 3m As Death Toll Hits 69,000

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says there are over 2.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent.

The UN health agency gave the update on its regional official Twitter yesterday.

WHO stated on its dashboard that there were over 2.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 1.6 million recoveries and 69,000 deaths cumulatively.

According to the dashboard, South Africa reported the highest number of new cases, followed by Nigeria and Congo on the list of countries with highest reported cases.

It showed that South Africa reported 21,832 new cases, recording 1.14 million cumulative cases and 31,368 deaths while Nigeria had 1,664 new reported cases with cumulative confirmed cases of 94, 369 and 1,324 cumulative deaths.

It added that Congo reported 960 new cases with 7,160 cumulative cases and 100 deaths.

According to the UN health Agency, physical distancing is one of the most effective methods to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“When possible maintain at least one-meter distance between you and others.

“To keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 on public transport, don’t throw used tissues on the floor,” the Agency said.

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