By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Abia state recorded the death of 30 persons with 23,700 suspected cases during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the state, last year.
The death also included 5 health workers who got the diseases during the period.
Disclosing this during the Abia State Public Health Emergency Operation tagged, Covid 19 Antigen Rapid Diagnosis Test, DDT, Rollout, organized by the State Ministry of Health with support from the World Health Organization, WHO; Response Coordinator, WHO, Abia office, Mrs Ogechi Chigbo, explained that samples were collected from 23,690 patients with 2,029 cases confirmed while 1,990 were treated and discharged.
She stated that 121,000 persons have been vaccinated against the virus as the state has procured over 20,000 RDT test kits. Chigbo who represented the WHO state coordinator in Abia, Dr. Linus Eze Okoro, urged people to visit the designated vaccination centre and dismissed reports of suspected death due to vaccination.
In her world, “Covid 19 is still around the corner. Since the first covid 19 cases in Abia last year, the state recorded a total of 23,700 suspected cases. Out of these, we collected samples from 23,690 patients. Out of the patients whose samples were collected,, we confirmed 2,029 cases as at last week. 1,990 patients have been treated and discharged.
“We recorded 30 deaths and out of this number, 5 of them are health workers.33 health workers were also infected.”
While calling on residents of the state to respect covid-19 protocol, the WHO Response Coordinator warned that the disease could be higher in the state than reported and listed council areas with high rate of covid-19 to include, Umuahia North, Ugwunagbo, Aba South, Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa, among others.
“People are behaving as covid-19 no longer exists. There is need for people to continue observing covid 19 protocols in order to protect themselves. We are still battling the disease. The NCDC in collaboration with WHO is struggling to ensure that the disease is reduced to the barest minimum. The state recorded the highest number of cases in September. We have 12 cases in November.We are not testing enough. This is why we came with the Rapid Diagnosis Test. We need to test more to break the chain of transmission and remove cases from the community. In Abia, 75 NYSC members were affected out of 1,352 persons tested. One sneaked into the camp, but started showing signs of covid-19. About 100 contacts were traced to one of them.In all the 17 LGAs, we have centres where tests could be conducted and results releases immediately.
“With the coming of antigen RDT testing in the state, people will have the opportunity of being tested and get the result immediately. People can be positive despite the fact that they are not showing any symptoms.”
State Epidemiologist, Abia State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Peace Nwogwugwu, stated that the ministry was worried that media reports have focused on the ongoing vaccination exercises as people no longer pay attention to testing to confirm their status while the disease is still ravaging the people.