•NCDC announces 1,585 new cases, total confirmed cases now 99,063
•Oyo warns against managing patients in private facilities
Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
No fewer than 15 medical doctors working with the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nasarawa State, have tested positive for COVID-19, which is currently in its second wave with a new variant.
Relatedly NCDC yesterday announces 1,585 new cases, total confirmed cases to 99,063. Discharged 79,417; death 1,350. Lagos maintained its top spot with 573, followed by FCT 182, Plateau 162, Gombe 81, Oyo 75, Rivers 68, Sokoto 58, Ondo 55, Ogun 42, Nsarawa 40, Akwa Ibom 36, Edo 31, etc.
This is as the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has urged corporate institutions especially, banks to join efforts with the state government and enforce measures to check the spread of the second wave of coronavirus in the state.
In Oyo State, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has warned owners of private health facilities in the state against managing COVID-19 cases in their facilities, as this has been linked with the rising cases of the infection in the state.
Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the DASH, Dr. Ikrama Hassan, however, disclosed the situation in the state yesterday, while addressing journalists in Lafia, even as he debunked earlier claims by Association of Resident Doctors in the state that 35 medical doctors in the hospital had tested positive for the virus.
Resident doctors in Nasarawa State had on Thursday, at a press conference in Lafia, called for downscaling of services in all departments of the hospital due to high rate of COVID-19 infection among health workers in the facility, where 35 medical doctors had contracted the virus.
But the CMD confirmed that only 15, out of the 139 doctors in the hospital, tested positive for the virus and therefore appealed to the resident doctors to have a dialogue with management of DASH on their position to shutdown the hospital in the midst of the second wave of COVID -19.
Reacting to a call by the resident doctors to downscale service delivery in all departments of the hospital due to the rise in the COVID-19 infection among health workers of the hospital, he said the second wave of the pandemic was more infectious and needed concerted effort to tackle.
The CMD contended that calling for a shutdown of the hospital would result in high mortality rate in the state and concluded that since Personal Protective Equipment had been provided by the hospital, the closure of service delivery by resident doctors in the midst of second wave of the pandemic had no rational and scientific basis and as such, unacceptable.
Meanwhile, Obaseki in a statement, said the state has a robust case management system put in place by the state government to manage confirmed cases at the four well-equipped and functional isolation centers, spread across the state.
“Several corporate institutions particularly banks have so far done well in enforcing social distancing and other safety measures. They are, however, encouraged to intensify efforts this time around to ensure that we curb the spread of this deadly virus,” Obaseki said.
The governor also commended religious leaders for their support and assistance during the first wave of the pandemic, adding: “I encourage them to actively and continuously disseminate information on adhering to safety guidelines to halt the spread of the disease.
“Market unions and trade associations are encouraged to rally their members to adhere to public health and safety guidelines outlined to halt the spread of the disease. Do not sell items to anyone not wearing facemasks so that they don’t put your life at risk.
“In as much as the government will enforce the rules relating to COVID-19 in Edo State, it is important that each and everyone of us take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us. We must abide by all public health and safety measures to ensure that we are safe,” Obaseki added.
Also, Oyo State’s COVID-19 Technical Task Force, while warning private hospitals, noted that there were 30 approved Testing Centres including the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, for the purpose of testing samples.
It added that those suspected to have symptoms of coronavirus infection should be referred to these centres, adding that testing for symptomatic or suspected cases was free.
A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, indicated that the chairman of the COVID-19 Technical Task Force, Professor Temitope Alonge, handed the warning in a memo addressed to Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers and Managers of private health facilities in the state.
Alonge, the statement noted, appealed to the health workers to comply strictly with the advisory, reiterating that the state government could not afford any depletion in the healthcare workforce due to ill health arising from coronavirus infection.
According to the statement, “The spread of the new wave of the coronavirus infection in Oyo State is increasing and the reports reaching the Emergency Operations Centre and the Technical Task Force is that some of the people infected had been managed for various ailments in some private health facilities.
“In some cases, the private health facilities fail to notify the EOC about suspected cases that would have had their samples taken by the EOC at the invitation of the private health facilities. Sampling of such cases by the EOC has been the established protocol and it is still in place.
“However, repeated breach of this protocol is worrisome and I wish to remind all health care providers that we are not immune to this infection and admitting suspected cases in private health facilities is unacceptable.
“No private health facility in Oyo State has been licensed to manage COVID-19 patients. Strict adherence to the laid down infection prevention and control measures will be enforced by the EOC at any private health facility. I wish to inform you that there are reports of an increase in the number of healthcare workers, who have contracted coronavirus infection at various healthcare facilities.”
The Task Force therefore stated that managements of all public and private health care facilities in the state should be aware that “there are thirty (30) testing centres dotted all over Oyo State, including the UCH, Ibadan, and that patients suspected to have symptoms of coronavirus infection should be referred to these centres for testing.
“Please note that testing for symptomatic or suspected cases is free. There are five testing centres in Ibadan, namely: Alakia PHC (Lagelu LGA); Health is Wealth (Ibadan North LGA); General Hospital, Apata (Ibadan South West LGA); Ologuneru PHC (Ido LGA); and the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
“I wish to appeal to all for strict compliance with this advisory and to reiterate that the Oyo State Government cannot afford any depletion in the healthcare workforce due to ill health arising from coronavirus infection. If you see something, say something, and if you know something, please speak up,” the statement concluded.