May 21, 2020

Expect more cases of Coronavirus in Lagos — Abayomi

COVID-19: 2,683 Lagosian fail to turn up for treatment — LASG

As LASG concludes plans to adopt homecare for patients

By Chioma Obinna

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi on Thursday, said following the ramp-up of laboratory testing and the diversification of sample collection centres in the state, Lagosians should expect an increase in the number of cases that will be reported in the state in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the state government has concluded plans to regularise home isolation and treatment for positive COVID-19 patients in the state.

Abayomi while giving an update on the fight against the virus in the state said the state has so far tested 16,000 samples with further a promise to reach a thousand capacity on a daily bases.

READ ALSO: Asymptomatic, mild COVID-19 patients can stay home— Abayomi, Lagos Health Commissioner

Giving an update on the virus in Lagos, he said there are plans to validate rapid testing to increase case detection.

“Lagos  State has remained the epicentre of the diseases with 2,970 confirmed cases,2261 active cases,649  discharged and 42 deaths. “

The Commissioner appealed to Lagosians who have symptoms of coronavirus disease to present early to the health facilities as about 80 per cent of people who contract the virus will recover from it.

He said presenting early to the health facilities increases chances of survival from COVID-19.

Speaking on home care of patients,  Abayomi said the state is in the process of regularising home isolation and treatment for positive COVID-19 patients in the state.

Abayomi said the state is hoping to make home isolation and care an official option for some patients, especially those with mild symptoms of the infection.

On why the state was considering home care, he said it is due to an increase in the number of people avoiding isolation centres and practising self-treatment at various places

“There are people who are already practising self/home-isolation on their own, because we can’t find them, the numbers they give us, maybe they are false or they don’t answer their phones. When you go out to pick them at their residences, they have absconded their residences. So, they are isolating themselves in different places.

“In effect, the concept of home-isolation is being practised by many Nigerians, even though it is not yet a state or national practice.

“The people of Lagos are practicing home isolation which is one of the reasons that we as the government is trying to transition to home care because it is happening anyway, we might as well regularise it and make it an official option,” the commissioner said.

Abayomi said the state’s isolation and treatment centres are currently 60 to 70 per cent filled.

“You would expect us to be full by now based on the number of cases we are diagnosing. The only reason we are not full is because as we admit, we discharge. But as we diagnose and try to evacuate the patients to the isolation centres, we are finding it difficult to find some patients.

“The trend is increasing, it seems as if people who get a positive test are reluctant to be admitted, mainly because of the stigma which we are working very hard on because there shouldn’t be a stigma around COVID-19, it is just like any other infection, when you catch malaria, cold or flu, it is not a stigmatising disease,” Abayomi said.

The commissioner said the state is spending a lot of time on the parameters of what home isolation is going to look like.

“In about a week or so, we are going to give the definitive parameters of how the state is going to integrate home-based care into our isolation strategy,” he said.

He further disclosed that research was ongoing to find out why the disease was not as serious in Lagos as it is in other countries of the world where higher fatalities have been recorded.

READ ALSO: One in five unwell Lagosians is COVID-19 positive — Prof Akin Abayomi, Health Commissioner

Speaking on the second wave of the virus, he said: “The second wave of infection is likely to occur like it is happening in China presently. “

He said the second wave of the virus may not be as serious as the first outbreak even as he cautioned against stigmatization of persons with the infection as it, not a death sentence.

On treatment, Abayomi said they were about to roll out the chloroquine trial in collaboration with WHO  while the traditional medicine Board is also working on home remedies especially in the aspect of food supplements.”

Speaking, the Senior Special Adviser to Governor, Dr. Oreoluwa Finnih who spoke on the relevance of good nutrition in recovery from coronavirus advised on the need for moderate to mild exercise, moderate use of ginger, garlic and a few other spices for home care.