Delta State: Mobile laboratory helped detection, treatment of COVID-19

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Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

THE Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, said that establishing a mobile laboratory testing centre in Asaba has increased turnaround time for detection and treatment of coronavirus patients in the state.

Okowa with aides at a COVID-19 treatment centre in Asaba

Mr Olisa Ifeajika, the CPS, in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Asaba, said the state benefited immensely from having Okowa, a medical doctor, as governor during the pandemic.

He said the noticed upsurge in confirmed cases of the pandemic in recent times in the state was due to the ramping up of testing, and that the state government took early and proactive steps toward battling COVID -19 pandemic in Delta State.

The state government, he said,  took steps to establish holding and isolation centres, trained and re-trained medical personnel, procured necessary equipment even before the state recorded its index case on April 7.

“Delta is lucky leveraging on having a medical doctor as governor and if you recall that from the beginning, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa showed great passion to fight the pandemic when it started.

He said: “While other states were asleep, we were up and about immediately after the first one week that the pandemic hit the nation.

Delta is lucky leveraging on having a medical doctor as governor and if you recall that from the beginning, Ifeanyi Okowa showed great passion to fight the pandemic when it started.

“Delta moved on and quickly established no fewer than 11 Holding Centres and four Isolation Centres across the state, with two in Asaba, one at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and one in Warri.

“Initially, we in the South-South, had just one testing point and it is at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo, serving the entire region and that meant that every sample that was collected in any of the states was taken there and you can imagine the turnaround time in testing.

“But recently, we were lucky to now have a testing laboratory in Delta State. We acquired that about three weeks ago and that has accounted for why we are now fast in testing.

“That’s why you can find the surge in the number of cases that we are recording now.

“It is a good thing for us because before now, we didn’t quite know how many people had it, but with the new testing centre now in Asaba, testing is faster.

“The major advantage in our own laboratory is that it is mobile and can be taken to anywhere within the state to carry out tests.”

Ifeajika disclosed that Warri was the epicentre of the pandemic in the state, and had recorded 10 confirmed cases out of which seven were active while three had been discharged.

“That’s the highest we have in the state; other cases across other local government areas are being managed well,” he said.

The CPS noted further that, “apart from those holding centres and the isolation centres we had, trainings were conducted for our medical personnel.

“They were trained and necessary equipment procured even when we didn’t have any case at that time.

“When we eventually had the index case about three weeks into the pandemic, we were ready; so, we were not caught napping at all and of course, that index case survived and has been discharged long ago.

“The second case we lost because he presented himself very late while other cases have been well managed so far.”

“All our equipment are brand new and they are working very well, and even the people managing them, including drivers and cleaners, everybody involved in the management of the coronavirus have had one training or the other.

“The management of the equipment are in good hands. The equipment were all new.”

The CPS disclosed that about 2557 health workers involved in managing the pandemic were enrolled in a life insurance package, and the allowances were being paid to the front line workers.

“Essentially, the entire spectrum of the health personnel has been insured. Besides, for those who are involved now, you may wish to know that allowances are being paid to them,” he said.

He said that the governor was compassionate enough to have established a food bank from where food items were distributed to vulnerable individuals and families in Delta state.

He added that the government also produced one million facemasks and distributed evenly to the vulnerable in the 25 local government areas.

According to him: “After the first 14 days of lockdown, there was this agitation and our governor being a compassionate man, listened and opened up the state partially to allow businesses to open and transporters to operate, and in the course of doing that, the food bank was established.

“The governor announced that when we had enough in that food bank, the items would be rolled out and that happened about a month ago when the bank was opened and rice, beans, noodles and other items were taken out to the citizens, especially the vulnerable.

“The governor appealed to the people to support the government in giving food to residents and they have supported government in giving out palliatives.

“The government produced one million face masks because it is compulsory to wear face masks in public. The government gave masks to the people, especially the vulnerable, who cannot afford it.”

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