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COVID-19: With Rising Cases, FG Considers Home Treatment of Patients


The federal government yesterday expressed concern about the rising cases of COVID-19, saying with the high prospect of patients outstripping the 3,500-bed spaces available in the country, it might consider home care treatment.

Confirmed cases have been on the upward trend since the warning. Last night, NCDC put the daily rise at 204, bringing the tally to 1,932 with 319 discharged and 58 dead.

It said the new 204 cases were reported from 18 states- Kano 80, Lagos 45, Gombe 12, Sokoto nine, Bauchi nine, Edo seven, Borno seven, Rivers six, Ogun six, FCT four, Akwa Ibom four, Bayelsa four, Kaduna three, Oyo two, Delta two, Nasarawa two, Ondo one and Kebbi one.

Acknowledging the gloomy immediate future, the federal government raised the alarm yesterday that rise in the incidences of the disease was threatening to overwhelm its facilities.

It, therefore, said it was intensifying talks with hoteliers in the epicentres of COVID-19, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, Ogun and Kano, on the possibility of converting their facilities to isolation centres to complement the 3,500-bed spaces on the ground across the country.

The federal government also expressed worry over the rising of patients trying to run away from isolation centres and said it was in talks with the military to provide security for the centres.

Speaking at the daily press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told reporters that the country only had about 3,500-bed spaces only for COVID-19 management, adding that in Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic, its capacity was being stretched.

He said the development might force the federal government to manage patients at homes by sending healthcare workers to treat them.

He said:

 “There is no doubt about it. We are struggling in some places, especially Lagos and to an extent in Kano and Abuja too. But the biggest challenge right now is Lagos where bed spaces are really tight.

“We are now trying to make more bed spaces available, but ultimately we might have to change our strategy and start considering homecare in certain circumstances where patients are able to provide rooms for their own management.

“Secondly, we will also have to support their care by enabling healthcare workers, who would go and treat them. Because of the realities we face, we might have to adjust our strategy in the next few days or weeks.”

He said the federal government was aware of the pressure for the use of the rapid diagnostic test, but that the technology would not produce accurate results as against what obtains with molecular laboratory testing.

“My responsibility is to make sure every result we get is accurate, and that is what we are doing at the moment,” he said.

He explained that instead of waiting for people to call or come for tests, officials have been deployed to go to the neighbourhoods in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to take samples from people with symptoms for testing.

Meanwhile, the federal government has made overtures to owners of hotels and other recreational facilities for bed spaces, urging them to show solidarity with efforts at tackling the pandemic outbreak.

It said the cooperation of the hotel owners are needed to allow government to make use of their facilities as isolation centres to manage the increasing cases of the virus.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also said there was an immediate need for owners of hotels to make their facilities available for temporary use in emergency situations.

“Active community transmission and scale-up of case finding are expressed in increasing numbers of confirmed persons. 

As stated yesterday, bed spaces and isolation centres at state level need to match the increase and necessitate an appeal to all citizens, especially property and hotel owners, to recognise the imminent needs and the social responsibility of working with state governments to make facilities available for temporary use in emergency situations,” he stated.

According to him, everything should not be left to government alone as “we must all take collective ownership of the health and wellbeing of our citizens.”

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