It is no news that the omicron variant of the COVID19 pandemic is affecting many countries in Africa with 46% of cases being detected in African countries. Beyond this, there has been a call globally to improve on vaccination especially in Nigeria to help the country overcome the mutating virus and control the expected 4th wave of the COVID19 Pandemic.
The Commissioner for Health who received the non Pharmaceutical donation from WHO in her office has called on Cross Riverians to be aware of the new variant Omicron and its more virulent nature. She in her speech stated that there has been an increase in the number of positive COVID19 cases reported in the state. “Cross River State has witnessed an increase by over 200% in the number of Positive cases recorded within the last two weeks. Last week alone we reported 26 new cases as opposed to the usual 4-6 cases on average in a week. Following the trends, this was expected as we go towards the Christmas festive season with more visitors flooding into the state to visit their loved ones at the end of the year”.
Cross Riverians have been strongly advised to use their facemask in public places as the continuous disregard for the use of face masks in public places will only increase the spread of COVID19 in the state. She thanked the WHO for supporting the state’s response with a face mask that is specifically targeted to health workers vowing that this will be distributed across the state to frontline health workers and vaccinators.
The Commissioner on behalf of the State COVID19 response informed the public that there are plans to rebuild the state-owned 100-bed isolation center which was equipped with highly sophisticated equipment but was destroyed and expensive items carted away during the #ENDSARS protest in Calabar. The Private sector Coalition has come together to support us rebuild bearing in mind the expected 4th wave anticipated in the country. She further explained that the other three Isolation centers available now are in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, General Hospital Obubra (for NYSC participants), and General Hospital Ogoja with well-trained staff, trained by NCDC to attend to severe Cases of COVID-19 while mild cases are to be managed at home by NCDC regulations.
Finally, the Commissioner thanked UNICEF for their support to COVID19 mass vaccination exercise calling on Cross Riverians to go and get vaccinated against COVID19. She also stated that if you have received your second jab more than 6 months ago you need to get a booster dose to improve your immunity and prevent you from being susceptible to the mutating virus. Furthermore, whether you have taken the vaccine or not, you must continue to use a face mask in public places to prevent contracting and spreading the COVID19 virus. “Until we have vaccinated enough persons to reach herd immunity, you need to be deliberate about wearing your mask; especially for older persons and persons with other underlying medical issues.
The donated face masks were immediately distributed to both Primary and Secondary Health Facilities in the State for onward distribution to all health workers especially those in the frontline as well as those who are currently carrying out the Covid-19 vaccination exercise across the State.