THE University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has punctured the claim of the Cross River Government that the state is free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The state government has persistently claimed that there are no cases of COVID-19 in the state, and warned the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) not to export confirmed cases of the virus into the state.
In a circular during the week to Heads of Departments, staff and patients of the hospital, the UCTH alerted on the presence of the virus in the state.
The hospital said its position was confirmed after the result of a test on a patient at the hospital returned positive.
In the circular, signed by the Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme and titled, ‘UCTH Staff Health Advisory: Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic,’ the hospital explained that it has become imperative to inform the public so that everyone will protect themselves as maximally as possible.
According to the circular, “The Management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital is aware of the agitation and uncertainties associated with coronavirus pandemic in the state.
“With recent developments, it does appear that the state may not be free from COVID-19 as generally believed. A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive. However, the patient had recovered and was discharged from our isolation centre last week.
“Management, therefore, urges staff and patients to protect themselves as maximally as possible. This is however, without prejudice to the fact that health care givers must make themselves available at all times to provide adequate treatment to patients without fear.
“Management on the other hand will do everything possible to ensure that staff and patients are adequately protected in line Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines.”
The hospital said that its new status as an independent testing laboratory for the COVID-19, as a Federal Government-owned health institution, permits it not to go through the state government’s Epidemiology Unit to test get samples.
Ikpeme also noted that the NCDC approved the hospital as an independent test center, which means that the hospital can send samples to NCDC accredited laboratories pending when the NCDC sets up and accredits its laboratory.
In the circular, Ikpeme enjoins “everyone to honestly do the needful to ensure that our community is protected from the coronavirus pandemic.
“In furtherance of steps earlier taken to protect staff and patients and facilities, Management will ensure strict compliance with measures geared towards protecting our population. This will involve strict entry and exit protocols into our facilities. We urge understanding.”