John ODHE, Yenagoa
The covid-19 taskforce in Bayelsa has alerted residents to be wary of what it described as full scale community transmission of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the state even as it revealed that three medical practitioners were among nine new cases confirmed in the state on Thursday.
In a statement on Friday, deputy chairman of the covid-19 taskforce and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku said the new cases were confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Decease Control (NCDC) on Thursday night.
The statement reads: “Five days ago, Bayelsa recorded nine new confirmed cases of COVID -19. Yesterday (Thursday) again, we recorded another nine new confirmed cases of COVID -19. This was not unexpected because of our robust survelliance activities and improved testing rates. We averagely send forty samples on daily basis to the UPTH Reference Laboratory.
“The core of our COVID -19 mitigation strategy is to test aggressively, isolate, treat and conduct robust contacts tracing. It is also now apparent we are dealing with community transmission.
“These nine newly confirmed cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the State to 30. Four out of these nine cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases while five are not epidemiologically linked to any of the previous confirmed cases. Three of these cases are health care professionals.
“One of these fresh unlinked cases was brought in critically ill and died few minutes after admission. Following the history of the sickness as was revealed by relatives, samples were collected for COVID -19 testing.
“She died a COVID -19 suspected case. She has since been buried after relatives were counselled on safe burial practices. The test result returned positive and as such we have another COVID -19 related death making a total of three such deaths in the State.
“All remaining eight new cases have since been evacuated for further treatment at our Isolation facilities. All their contacts are being line listed and adequately followed up including necessary environmental decontamination.
“Samples have and are still being collected from their high -risk contacts while they have all been counselled on self-quarantine. Risk communication and community engagement are ongoing.
“Three cases were discharged today. Currently, we have fifteen active cases of COVID -19 in the State. All these cases are clinically stable. The State Government Quarantine Facility has since being admitting contacts who are unable to self-quarantine. They have been very cooperative while enjoying the luxury provided at this centre.
The State Public Emergency Operations Centre (the COVID -19 Situation Room/ War Room of the State response) and the State COVID -19 Task Force are and will remain on response mode; doing their best to contain and mitigate the impact of this pandemic.
Permit me to seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the health care workers particularly the frontlines who have been tireless in their resolve and commitment to the COVID -19 response in the State.”
He said there was need to re-emphasize that public vigilance is important while asking that patients should confide in their physicians the true case history of their ill health.
“We have also commenced active health facility and community case search for any case of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) in our hospitals and communities respectively to have a sentinel insight into the importation and possible community transmission of COVID -19. Let me reiterate that we still believe in the opportunities and the gains of prevention and early detection while building our capacity to manage COVID-19 seamlessly.
“To this end we join the rest of the global community to advise as follows:
1. Regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water; the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also recommended.
2. Social distancing is key. Maintain at least 2 meters (6 feet) distance between you and anyone. Avoid crowds.
3. Always wear a face mask in any public place.
4. Endeavour to practice good respiratory hygiene: when sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve at the flexed elbow or with a tissue. Then dispose-off the used tissue safely, immediately.
5. Exposed persons should stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing and notify relevant authorities immediately.”