By Jonathan Ugbal
Barely 24 hours after Cross River Governor, Benedict Ayade was seen dancing in celebration of claims that the state did not record a confirmed case of COVID-19, the management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has informed her staff that five samples taken to Ebonyi state for test have returned positive.
The Chief Medical Director of the UCTH, Professor Ikpeme Ikpeme in a Health Advisory dated July 3, 2020 said two out of the five confirmed cases were staff of the facility.
“The Management of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital wishes to inform her staff and patients that Covid-19 tests performed on 5 samples from our hospital returned positive. Two of these samples came from our medical staff. These staff have since made tremendous progress along the path of recovery and are doing well. The tests were performed using the PCR Technique at the NCDC Accredited Laboratory located at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki,” the advisory read.
“Management has duly informed the Cross River State Government and other agencies of Government.
“We wish to reassure our staff and patients that a positive Covid-19 test is neither a ‘death sentence’ nor a reason for any type of fear or stigmatization. As stated above, our medical personnel have recovered. We urge all staff and patients to abide by the guidelines on hand and respiratory hygiene as advised by the State and Federal Governments through their various agencies, especially The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC). There is absolutely no reason for panic or furore.
“As an Institution of Government, the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital will continue to provide information and guidance; and take steps to protect our staff, patients and the community we serve. We therefore urge everyone to take personal responsibility and co-operate with Government and Institutions in the ongoing fight against the disease, especially with the relaxation of the lockdown which can potentially translate into an increase in the number of cases,” the advisory added.
This comes hours after a study on 66 antibodies test conducted by the Joseph Ukpo Hospital and Research Institute showed a prevalence rate of 26 percent for COVID-19 after 17 tested positive.
Governor Ben Ayade had condemned the PCR method as been unreliable and suggested the use of antibodies test. His health commissioner however said that the gold standard remains the RT-PCR method.
Hours after the facility notified the Cross River state government, it issued a release claiming that there has been an influx of people into the state in the past six days.
“The Honourable Commissioner for Health and Chairman Cross River State Covid-19 Response Taskforce Dr. Betta Edu has called on Cross Riverians to expect positive Covid-19 cases anytime soon following the Federal Government of Nigeria resolve to lift the ban on interstate travel and opening of the airport,” a statement shared by Government House Calabar, read.
The statement circulated widely by aides of Governor Ben Ayade said, “she decried the massive influx of people into the state over the last 6 days. She said hundreds of persons have moved into the state and more than anytime we are at risk.”
“The influx of people into the state since the re-opening of the interstate border is extremely overwhelming,” the statement read, adding that, “most entrants into the state including some almajiris that came in about four days ago in their numbers are from Covid-19 epid center, and that calls for worry.”
She said the state “is urgently intensifying plans to set up more stringent public health preventive measures following the development.”
“Please don’t feel panic, don’t feel stigmatized, walk into our new test centers, get tested, get protected and together we can overcome this virus,” Edu was quoted as saying.
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