Covid-19: Fear grips Kwara residents as govt confirmed two cases

By Mumini AbdulKareem

There is presently palpable fear across Kwara state following the confirmation of two cases of Covid-19, a strain of the coronavirus by the Kwara State government on Monday.
The suspected index case, Alhaji Muideen Obanimomo who died at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) on Thursday had generated controversy following the handling of the case by the hospital management.
The deceased, an external auditor who hailed from Offa was initially secretly treated at home by a senior medical staff of the UITH who later took him to the hospital after he began to show symptoms of the virus on the 13th day of self isolation having recently returned from the UK.
While he was been admitted at the UITH, the senior colleague who brought him in never disclosed the status to staff and medical personnel who attended to him.
His body was subsequently released by UITH from where it was taken to Offa for burial exposing it to several persons in the process at the hospital and during the burial process.
After the confirmation of the two cases on Monday, which include the wife of the late Obanimomo, residents in the state have expressed fear over the incident.
Messages have been forwarded on many social media groups expressing great concern over the development and warning residents and relatives to intensify efforts in maintaining social distancing especially in mosques and places of worship.
According to the state government in a short press release by the Spokesman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19 and Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye confirming the incident, the government will address the state on further measures being taken to tackle the development.
“Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 sadly confirms two separate cases of COVID-19 in the state. One is the wife of the UITH patient, a UK returnee, who died last Thursday and the other is another UK returnee.
“This statement is issued at 18:33pm, a few minutes after the government received official confirmation of test results from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Test Centre in Ibadan.
“The government will address a news briefing tomorrow morning at 11am to give details and further measures now being taken to tackle the development”, it added.
Speaking on the incident, the UITH, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr (Mrs) A. O. Saka, had disclosed that the late Obanimomo, a 57-year-old Muslim male was rushed into its Accident and Emergency Department on Wednesday, April 1, in the company of one of the hospital’s Professor of Internal Medicine—a specialist in infectious diseases.
“The patient, who was said to have a history of abdominal discomfort/stooling, following ingestion of rotten pineapples was admitted and managed as a case of food poisoning.
“The patient later died in the early hours of the following day (Thursday), and his corpse was released to the Professor who claimed to be his relative for immediate burial (in accordance with Islamic rites).
“The hospital management received several anonymous calls disclosing information of recent travels by the patient and his wife to UK and having been on self isolation on arrival to Ilorin 12 days prior presentation at A&E (Accident and Emergency Department) on the advice of the Professor who brought him—Information that was concealed from the frontline medical personnel at first contact in the A&E, A&E Attendants and the mortuary staff; acts that the hospital’s management considered HIGHLY UNETHICAL!!!!”
“Based on this hidden and additional information, the hospital’s management and the UITH’s COVID-19 Committee immediately swung into action by doing the following:
1. The case was labeled a ‘Suspected Case’;
2. Immediate notification to Kwara State COVID-19 Committee Response Team;
3. Proactive fumigation of the hospital Medical Emergency Department;
4. Proactive advise for self isolation of close contacts of the patient while in the hospital & their follow-up by UITH’s COVID-19 C’ttee Team;
5. Collaboration with Kwara State COVID-19 Response Team on Contract tracing in the Community;
6. Collection of laboratory samples from the deceased’s wife, the Professor, and all others identified as ‘very high risks Contacts’ using National COVID-19 Guideline; and
7. Institution of other measures at every points of Clinical Services to protect health care staff in the frontlines and other, in cases of deceptions from Clients with probable symptoms of COVID-19.”
The UITH management commended the anonymous callers for the vital information, while advising the general public to provide necessary and timely information that will aid appropriate care and prompt response from health workers in the hospital”, UITH added.

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