The Honorable Minister of Health has said that the recent increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases is likely due to scaled up implementation of the new case- finding strategy as well as the result of rising community transmission. The Minister disclosed this today 17th April, 2020 at the Presidential Task Force briefing as he confirmed a total of 442 people in 20 states who had been recorded to have had COVID -19. He said, 35 new confirmations were distributed as follows: 19 in Lagos, 9 in FCT, 5 in Kano and 2 in Oyo, 13 deaths all with comorbidities, had also been recorded so far and 152 had been discharged. He revealed that 277 persons with COVID-19 had been cared for in isolation centers and treatment centers across the country.
The Minister further stated that, “With house-to-house and cluster testing, using the revised criteria for sample collection, yield has increased”. He added that more people had been detected and transferred to treatment centers; He ensured more social mobilization for community testing at grassroots level and isolation of positive cases.
Dr. Ehanire emphasized that citizens disclose complete and accurate information to health workers about their travel history or contact with persons who have or had COVID-19, saying it was important for 2 main reasons:
· Full disclosure allows health workers to promptly, investigate, diagnose and treat correctly, to improve chances of patient survival and recovery.
· The right information also keeps the health workers safe. Withholding the truth puts both the user and caregiver at risk but also other patients on site Several Health workers, who must then self isolate as a result of exposure to a positive patient, will also be put out of circulation. This he said is not what we can afford with the limited number of Health workers in the country.
Health Minister advised that infected persons need not hide themselves at home till their condition deteriorates that they be rushed to the hospital in critical state. He noted that some fatalities could have been saved if presented earlier. He restated that persons who have had fever of unclear origin and cough should first put on a mask or a face covering of any type, isolate themselves from friends and family and call the national emergency number 112, or the NCDC toll free number 08009700 0010, or report themselves to the nearest facility for referral.
The Honorable Minister of Health hinted that several persons who had COVID -19 had been successfully treated and discharged as proof that most people do survive the disease. He however requested the cooperation of those who test positive with health officials to accept any designated isolation and treatment centers, even if they feel well. He further stated that in the interest of the general public, the Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Center for Disease Control reserves the right to investigate suspected cases of COVID-19 who do not comply with advisory.
Dr. Ehanire commended the frontline health workers who had been managing patients and urged all citizens to desist from spreading fake news and misinformation that cause fear and panic and to remember public health advisories and social measures and regulations around the lockdown advising them to stay home, stay safe and take precautions.
Head Media and Public Relations