Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Lack of funds and equipment especially Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is threatening the response to the COVID-19 challenge in the state.
At present there are four active cases in the state with three at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yenagoa and one case at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri.
The sixth case recorded in the state that had no linked to the index case, a 65-year-old man has been discharged from NDUTH on Monday and his 46 contacts have also exited isolation.
According to investigations lack of funds for contact tracers, poor stipends for health workers at isolation centres, lack of PPEs at most public facilities, inadequate vehicles for surveillance and contact tracing and lack of designated wards to keep suspected cases are threatening the response in the state.
Findings also indicated porous borders and compromised security personnel at the four entry points in the state also posed a big threat to the efforts of the COVID-19 State Task Force.
In spite of a directive that makes face mask wearing compulsory in public, many Bayelsans have continued to shun the directive with the task force helpless to enforce the directive.
Also the demolition at Swali and Tombia markets to enforce social distancing policy has failed as the situation is worse off now since traders have been forced to manage the small space made available.
Fun seekers have also shunned the social distancing policy as investigations from most pubs, bars and fun spots indicated that precautionary measures are not be followed.
The Chairman of the implementation committee of the task force and Permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Onodu Apoku insisted that the task force is on top of the situation in the state.
Apoku who allayed the fears of community transmission in the state said the new cases are not linked to previous cases in the state.
According to him one of the new cases is a lady in her thirties who does not have any travel history but developed symptoms of COVID-19 and called the State Respond Team which collected her sample which came out positive.
The other cases are two military men with travel history to Delta and Lagos and a household contact of one of the military men.
Apoku explained that all the contacts of the four cases are being adequately followed and assured that the task force would remain on response mode.
He also disclosed that with a laboratory at University of Port Teaching Hospital, the state is sending 25 samples daily for testing.
Apoku however pleaded with Bayelsans to remain vigilant noting that the task force has commenced search of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection in medical facilities in the state.