…Urges FG To Create Test Center
…As Police Changes Strategy
By Demola Akinyemi
Kwara State Government on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the rising positive cases of Covid-19 in the state with 23 new cases on Monday, the highest since this pandemic found its way into the state, and urged the federal government to speedily establish a test center in the state in order to assist the state government to control the rise in the cases.
The government also expressed his intention to meet religious leaders in the state and review the current lockdown so as to open the worship centers.
Vanguard however observed since the beginning of this week that the various checkpoints mounted at strategic places across the nooks and crannies of the state to control residents movements from 6PM to 6AM in compliance with the state government curfew directive have also disappeared as residents go about unhindered as if it was in normal times
Contacted, the Spokesman of Kwara state police command, Kayode Okasanmi confirmed the development in an interview with Vanguard, stressing that it was a change of strategy.
He said, “The curfew is still in place, we only changed our strategy. We only patrol across the states now instead of the former checkpoints, and we still arrest people who flout the curfew order.
“We now concentrate more in the border areas of the state to ensure that unwanted people are not allowed into the state and this strategy has proved to be more effective.”
Meantime, Spokesman of COVID -19 Technical Committee in the state, Rafiu Ajakaye, in a press statement on Wednesday said the sudden peak in the number of COVID-19 cases on Monday followed a deliberate effort of the committee to contact-trace and test all persons and health workers that have had contacts with two persons that recently sneaked into the state and tested positive to the virus.
According to the statement,” all but one of the 23 new cases posted on Monday — the highest in a day since the outbreak — were already in isolation before the test result as they had long been identified as “persons of interest” on account of their close contacts with a pregnant woman who sneaked in from Zamfara and later tested positive.
“The woman was briefly treated at the Ilorin General Hospital and later at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital where she underwent an operation and later tested positive, leading to contact tracing and testing of over 180 people.
“Various precautionary measures have since been taken at the two hospitals, including disinfection of relevant wards, relocation of other patients to some other wards, testing of all the contacts, and a renewed emphasis on the need for healthcare workers to treat every patient as a potential COVID-19 case,”
The statement added,“For the record, the rise in the cases was a result of government’s proactiveness in rounding up all contacts and testing all of them. Insinuations about the lack of PPEs or shortage of same are unfounded and reckless.”
The statement also explained that the 23 cases included contact of a deceased whose corpse was brought into Kwara State from the neighbouring Ekiti State.
The statement continued, “The government has therefore despatched a Rapid Response Team to begin an aggressive contact tracing of the case in the affected community for another round of test,”
“So far, 75 percent of our cases were imported. There is no record of community spread yet in Kwara. While we commend the security agencies for what they are doing, we urge them to do much more to secure our borders and prevent influx of people into the state. The new 23 cases, as many before now, were a backlash from porous borders.
“We would like to state that Kwara’s performance in COVID-19 management is one of the best in the country. As of May 30, our percentage of recoveries/discharges is 43%, far above the national average of 29%. Our percentage of mortality is 1.15%. It is well below the national average of 2.81%. The state also ranks among the best in terms of high index of suspicion as can be seen in the number of positive cases compared to the test done. For every 100 test done in Kwara, seven is positive, whereas the national average is 16 for every 100 tests done.
“Even so, the government is not taking chances. Apart from constant supplies of PPEs and designation of holdings rooms across our facilities for suspicious cases, the government has intensified engagements with hospital heads and trainings for health workers to be on top of their game.
“In time of pandemic and other emergencies, it is a crime for anyone or entity to undermine a system put in place to protect the people. The government, therefore, warns that any action that purports to kill the morale of our health workers and those in the frontline of this national emergency will not be tolerated.”
The government meanwhile has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on setting up of at least a COVID-19 test centre in the state to strengthen the capacity to test more samples and urge people to come up for voluntary testing.
The government said it is willing to offer all the necessary cooperation to ease the setting up of the facility.
“Similarly, the government will soon announce the modalities for relaxing the lockdown order on worship centres in the state.
“The government sincerely commends the patience and understanding of our religious and traditional rulers while urging them to actively join the sensitisation campaign about the virus,” the statement added.
It said the government is to meet with the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities in the state on Wednesday to fashion out the way forward on the proposed reopening of worship centres.