With COVID-19 testing facilities, we’re likely to have more positive cases in Ogun – Govt
says Togo returnees, referred patients from Lagos form part of 8 new cases
With the provision of two required clinical testing facilities in Ogun state – molecular testing laboratory at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu and Drive through testing laboratory, Ijamido, Sango-Ota, Ogun state government on Wednesday declared that more positive cases of Coronavirus pandemic could be recorded in the state in the coming days.
Tomi Coker, Commissioner for Health, who conducted a team of experts from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) round 250-Bed Specialist Hospital in Abeokuta being prepared as Isolation Centre by the State government, declared that massive testing exercise currently being planned for residents of the state would spark off more positive cases of Coronavirus.
Coker, while speaking with a team of NCDC and WHO officials that was led by Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, however noted that the State government was scaling up testing laboratories and isolation facilities in order to effectively cater for a possible increased number of positive cases of COVID-19.
“However, we should expect that we are going to keep on having a ramping-up of numbers. As we announced, we started testing population base since yesterday (Tuesday). When we do more tests, we are likely to have more results that are positive and the State is prepared.
“As we all know, we have four isolation centers, this ( Intensive Care Unit of 250-Bed Specialist Hospital, Abeokuta) being the fourth one. Ikenne has the highest capacity which is 128 beds, OOUTH has 25 beds and Iberekodo has 72 beds. So, we are ready to scale up; we have also identified sites where we can scale up into if we come to a situation of exhausting our capacity of 300”, she said.
Speaking about eight new cases recorded on Tuesday which brought total number of positive cases in the state to 20 – six discharged and 14 active, the Commissioner revealed that three patients were Togo returnees that underwent COVID-19 test at Republic of Benin-Nigeria Border Post at Imeko, Imeko-Afon local government of the state, while the remaining five patients who had gone to Lagos state for testing and were referred back to Ogun state being their State of Origin.
She said, “From the eight cases, five came from a cluster, it was the same cluster we got the five cases from, then, about 72 hours ago, we had eight returnees from Togo heading to Sokoto and Jos. We housed them here with a driver and a conductor, making ten of them and we tested ten of them about 48 hours ago and out of the ten, we got eight results back so far, out of which, three were positive.
“They are Nigerian citizens, returning back to the nation, they were met at the Border of Imeko, we were notified of their return. They are Nigerians returning from Togo. The important thing is that these are reported cases and if we don’t deal with them now, we might have issues of community spreading.
“So, I must encourage everyone. We are out in 20 local governments; we are testing each (political) ward, each day for the next 14 days, so that we can avoid community spread because once we have community spread, we would have a challenge on our hands.
“The five that you saw were the ones accredited to us from Lagos, because they reside in Ogun state but they went to test in Lagos state. As you recall, two weeks ago, we had a similar case, we have now gone up to 20.
“We have got a lot of examples that the NCDC is taking to other states. For example, our standard operating policies, our protocol guidelines, and my suspicion is that there might be a time that they are going to ask us to support other states in responding. They (NCDC and WHO) were actually taken aback by the level of our preparedness and how precise we are, the details we have gone into.
“The next stage for us, is actually the training of our staff, and making sure that the equipment we have acquired so far, we have staff that can use them to respond appropriately to the challenge that might confront us in the future.”
Responding, the leader of NCDC and WHO Team, Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC, said: “Our mission is really to on behalf of the Presidential Task Force, look at the state of preparedness of Ogun state government.
“Obviously, the first case did occur of someone visiting Ogun state and we have been speaking and working together all this time, but it was important for us to come to the state to see things for ourselves, the level of preparedness across all aspects of the outbreak response, share ideas on what to do better and how to work together into the future because we know this is not a short response.
“We are really impressed with the momentum here and obviously this facility is one of them and we have been to several others and we are impressed by the progress made so far.”
RAZAQ AYINLA, Abeokuta