Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has said that the increasing pace of COVID-19 testing will yield more detected cases, adding however that in spite of the rising figures, the case fatality rate remains at about three per cent, which is lower than many countries.
The government added that response in tracing, testing and case management is driven by data and evidence and that it is adjusting protocols for quarantine and treatment accordingly.
Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire made the disclosure on Monday at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
He said that 403 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, which has increased the total number of cases to 16,085.
‘We have treated and discharged 5,220 persons and sadly lost 420 persons to the disease. Despite the rising figures, the case fatality rate remains at about three per cent which is lower than in many countries, but not a cause for relief.
‘The increasing pace of testing will yield more cases, but we need to also be proactive in keeping fatalities low. It is still strongly advised that those who test positive present themselves at a treatment centre; this is most especially so for those with underlying ailments like diabetes, hypertension or are above 60 years of age.
‘The reason is that COVID-19 symptoms can start mildly with slight fever, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, but suddenly escalate to shortness of breath in no time. Lagos State reports that people who delay going to the hospital and treating themselves first at home are the majority of victims, some barely making it to the doorstep of the hospital,’ Ehanire said.
Speaking more on contact tracing, the minister said: ‘We are collaborating with states to strengthen their response according to needs. An arrangement has been reached to send a collaborative team to Cross River State in the coming days to complement the work of the state government.
‘It will be led by the Executive director of NPHCDA Dr Faisal, to engage in a technical handshake with the State EOC. Representatives from all relevant Departments will be included,’ he said.
Ehanire said efforts are on to increase the number of laboratories with priority given to states which do not have a laboratory with PCR capability, including Cross River and Kogi states
He also warned that ‘COVID-19, will be with us for a long time. We shall keep learning as we go along. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health has developed a Health Sector Response Plan to cover the next three years divided into the near, medium and long term.
‘This plan, therefore, should be able to project into the future for at least three years. No doubt, it will require modification and updating as we learn more about the disease.’