Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State COVID-19 Action Committee disclosed on Sunday, April 19th, that 27 samples of suspected cases of the virus in the state had been collected and dispatched for laboratory tests, with all but the state’s index case returning negative.
Secretary of the Committee and Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Sunday Ongbabo, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said those samples were taken from suspected cases in Ushongo, Gboko, Gwer West, Gwer East, Tarka, Otukpo, Okpokwu, Konshisha and Makurdi local government areas.
“So far, we have responded promptly to distress calls in addition to intelligence from our surveillance teams and have collected a total of 27 samples which we dispatched for laboratory tests, with all of the results so far returned negative, with the exception of the index case.”
Ongbabo explained further that two samples were collected from suspected cases in Ushongo LGA, with one of the results returned negative, while one result was still being awaited as of the time of this report.
He stated further that the two suspects were so far in an isolation and quarantine centre, adding that in Konshisha LGA one sample was collected for the test, with the result still being awaited.
“In Gboko LGA, we had three outings collecting three samples for tests, with two of the results returned negative, while one suspect is awaiting result and in isolation. In Gwer West LGA, we had one outing, collected one sample for test with the result returning negative.”
The COVID-19 Committee secretary disclosed that in Makurdi LGA, the committee had 13 outings, collected 13 samples for tests, with all of the results returning negative.
He said at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp at Agaan, Makurdi the sample of a suspected case was collected for the test, with the result returned negative, adding that the person, however, died from another ailment.
“In Otukpo LGA, we had two outings, collected three samples for tests from a man and two members of his family, with the results returning negative. Also in Otukpo, we collected samples for test from a retired soldier, with the result returning negative.
“In Okpokwu LGA, we had one encounter with the case of a suspect who arrived there from Ghana in December 2019. He was earlier diagnosed as diabetic and suffered complications. While being conveyed to Abuja for medical attention he died in transit and out inquiries discovered his remains were deposited at Gwagwa.
“Following an interest from us to conduct an autopsy on his remains to determine his COVID-19 status, NCDC informed us that his corpse had stayed for more than 6 hours and results from an autopsy on it relative to COVID-19 will not be reliable. More importantly, however, the case did not meet with case definition for COVID-19.”
Ongbabo noted that in Gwer East LGA, the committee had one outing, collected one sample for test from a returnee from Lagos, with the result returning negative. He further revealed that two samples were collected in Tarka LGA for tests, with the results returning negative.
He said the committee also followed up on those persons who came into the state from Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Malaysia, adding that results from tests on them all have been negative with the exception of the index case.
“We were also able to effectively place 25 contacts of the index case under supervised self-isolation, and following satisfactory results, all were discharged by 12th April 2020, with the exception of one who had earlier absconded and was later brought into self-isolation.”
The commissioner urged the people of the state to continue to observe the basic safety measures of personal hygiene, such as frequent and regular washing of hands with soap and running water, use of hand sanitisers, maintaining social distancing as well as observing the rules and regulations imposed by the lockdown on the state by the government.