There was a general sense of panic in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital following the discovery of the first index case of Covid-19 case in the State.
The index case, identified as a 49 year- old woman and a Civil Servant from Ogbia Local Government area of the State, has been moved to the isolation centre located at the Niger Delta University teaching Hospital at Okolobiri area of the State.
The Governor of the State, Senator Douye Diri, who called for calm, ”Unfortunately, one of the five results received yesterday night for Bayelsa State was positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case in Bayelsa”.
According to Gov. Douye Diri,“The patient is a 49-year-old female, who presented herself at the Bayelsa State Specialist Hospital. She is a known hypertensive and diabetic, and presented with history of poor appetite, fever, headache, non-productive cough and chest pain of a week duration. She did not admit to any travel history”.
“She was subsequently admitted at the Bayelsa Specialist Hospital where she was being managed for malaria and uncontrolled hypertension with queried COVID-19. Even as of this morning, she has vehemently denied any travel history and has strongly rejected the test result. She is presently stable clinically even though in a panic state”.
“She has been evacuated to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) isolation centre at Okolobiri for further management and all her contacts will be adequately followed up, including necessary environmental decontamination as the case may be”.
“We should appreciate the dynamics of the times and act sensibly. This is a global pandemic and we cannot be sectional or partisan in our response. Like I said on a previous occasion, we cannot sleep or rest while we have an enemy we cannot see. Covid-19 is an enemy we must fight until it is completely defeated. It is time for responsibility sharing and not blame sharing”.
“The Bayelsa Specialist hospital has since been closed down and decontamination procedures commenced.Contact tracing has also commenced and samples will be collected from all contacts, including members of staff of the Specialist Hospital that were on duty as well as all persons who visited the facility during her admission.All high-risk contacts samples will be collected and sent for testing while risk communication and community engagement will continue as usual”.
“As I mentioned earlier, the Bayelsa State COVID-19 task force will remain on RESPONSE mode with dedicated and experienced health officers and volunteers doing their best to contain the spread of this disease in the state.Let me repeat that prevention and early detection remain our focus of containment. and as such we continue to advocate as follows:
“In addition, I am pronouncing that everybody except those on essential duties should remain at home for the next one week starting from tonight”.
On the rejection of the test carried out on the index case, Governor Diri foreclosed the issue of second test by the State Government, insisting that the test is scientific and the state government does not have the need to conduct a second test, “the only way out is for the State Government to treat her because she came forward on her own volition. We would do everything in our power to treat her but we will not reject the test result.”
Governor Douye also announced that the State owned Specialist Hospital where the index case first reported to have been shut down and all medical staff that come in contact with her would be isolated and a text carried out from samples taken,”All the medical staff on duty at the time and all persons who visited the hospital when she was on admission would be traced and test carried out.”
He also announced that the family members of the index case would also be checked because they are on high risk of contamination, “the Covid-19 committee set up by the State would remain in a response mode. Early detection is the main mode of the Covid-19 committee.
He announced a total lock down in the state starting from midnight on Monday with restriction of movement in and outside the state except those on essential duty, ”there is no need to panic because the State Government is on top of the situation.”
On the arrest of some Eight Church Pastors in the State over the alleged violation of the lock down order in the state last Sunday, Governor Douye Diri confirmed that out of the eight that were arrested by the security sub-committee of the Covid-19 committee, only one is still in detention for refusing to show remorse and stop violation of the Lock down order.
Governor Douye Diri also denied the claims that some two index cases escaped from the Isolation centre in Ughelli, Delta State into Bayelsa to avoid detection, “But we treat all claims equally. There is no such incident as index case escaping into Bayelsa.” He cautioned the people of the State to avoid spreading rumor and false claims in order to cause panic among the populace.
He commended the State Task Force on Covid-19 headed by himself, stating that” since the index case of the Covid-19 pandemic was announced on February 27, 2023, when an Italian citizen in Lagos tested positive for the virus, my government has taken proactive actions to strengthen surveillance at our boundaries with neighboring states to prevent the spread of coronavirus into our own state. With the diligence of the State Task Force on Covid-19, which I chair, and the cooperation of the citizens, we have largely been successful in this quest”.
“There are now over 2.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally. The number of cases in Nigeria has also continued to rise in the last few weeks with a total of 1,273 confirmed cases as of yesterday.We have continued to follow up travelers and persons of interest as well as several alerts and rumours reaching the Bayelsa State COVID-19 task force”.
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