By Lukman Olabiyi
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has revealed why the state government agreed to open school at the peak of second wave of COVID-19.
The governor revealed this while briefing newsmen at the State House, Ikeja on COVID-19 update in the state on Tuesday.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that about 24,000 students are still missing from the public schools after resumption of schools at the end of the lockdown neccessitated by the first wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria last year.
Stressing the need for students to return to school to continue their education at various levels, he said,
“Last year after the first lockdown and kids have to come back to school, we are still looking for about 24,000 of them that have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them to other things instead of ensuring that they still have time to come back for learning even if it is twice or thrice a week.
“At least he has been registered since the beginning of a session and they can monitor them. If not, they will just be roaming and they become endanger. We have seen incident of child abuse and all unprintable things that are being done to these children. So, we believe to a large extent that schools sometimes happen to be the safe haven for them. We have done the roster in which we ensure they keep social distance and we are monitoring”.
The governor also disclosed that as of January 17, 2021, Lagos had recorded a total of 41,374 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the rate at which people were being tested positive to the virus , any malaria-like symptom should now be considered and treated as COVID-19 until proven otherwise.
He stated that number of people being tested positive daily for the virus had skyrocket the demands for concentrated oxygen used to moderate severe cases on admission in the isolation centres.
“As you are aware, all schools in the State have been directed to open in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government, and they have commenced schooling activities on Monday, January 18, 2021. This was a difficult decision to make in light of the second wave of covid-19, but I assure you it was the best decision for our children’s safety and long-term development especially our most vulnerable children.
“The staff and management of the Ministry of Education have been monitoring compliance of both public and private schools with the safety policies and protocols laid out. Parents are encouraged to ensure the protocols of safety are adhered to in their homes and that they model responsible behavior to their children at all times, in and out of the home.
“In this second wave of the current pandemic, any malaria-like symptoms should be considered as COVID-19 virus infection unless and until otherwise proven. Any affected individual with COVID-like symptoms should proceed to any of our public health facilities and/or laboratories to get tested for free,” he said.
However, the state governor assured Lagosians that the government has put a robust testing, oxygen, home based and vaccine strategies in place to further contain the spread of the pandemic in the State.
Sanwo-Olu urged Lagosians to adhered strictly to COVID 19 safety Protocols and take responsibility in the bid to flatten the curve of the virus.
He also advised inbound and out bound travellers to adhered strictly to guidelines and rules on testings and isolation put in place by the government
Reeling out updates on the virus, Sanwo-Olu said the state being national epicenter of the disease, ‘As of January 17, 2021, Lagos had recorded a total of 41,374 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 28,452 have recovered and are within community while 9,213 are currently active in community. Over the last 12 months, about 3,776 COVID-related patients have been admitted into our various care centres; with a registered fatality rate of approximately 0.67% (277 cases).
“One of the greatest hallmarks of the Lagos State Response has been the State’s robust Testing Strategy. In addition to the four public laboratories providing free testing under the public health response, the state has increased the number of private providers under its Private Laboratory Consortium to 20 Private Laboratories, providing services to both our inbound and outbound international travelers, work-related activities or anyone that is curious about their COVID-19 status.
“The formation of the consortium has significantly increased our testing capacity with the State conducting between 2,000 and 3,000 tests per day.
” So far, a total of 263,358 tests have been conducted between our public and private laboratories, with 41,374 diagnosed as positive. This has allowed us the opportunity to target our interventions with precision and ensure the efficient use and mobilisation of resources. It is important to clarify, once again, that those that fall within the case definition—that is, have symptoms, such as fever, cough, cold, inability to smell or taste, headaches or general body weakness—or those who come into close contact with anyone with any of these symptoms are eligible for free testing at any of our public laboratories.
“The increase in the positivity of cases has necessitated the provision of greater amounts of concentrated oxygen for the moderate to severe cases on admission in our isolation centres.
Over the last few weeks, the demand for oxygen has risen from 70 of 6-litre cylinder per day to 350 of 6-litre cylinders in our Yaba Mainland Hospital. This is projected to more than double to 750 of 6-litre cylinders, before the end of January 2021.
“In addition to providing oxygen at our isolation centres, the Lagos State Government has decentralized the availability of oxygen across the State through the provision of 10 oxygen and sampling kiosks. Oxygen therapy and other related services will be provided to patients that require them. Five of these 10 centers have been commissioned while the remaining five will be ready for use within the next four weeks. It is our expectation that these sampling kiosks would be easily accessible to residents that require oxygen therapy at the level of LGAs as stabilization points prior to onward transmission to our Isolation centres, if required.
This strategy is to further increase the fighting chance of Lagos residents that have contracted the virus and require immediate oxygen therapy.
As a result of the increasing demand for oxygen, the Lagos State Government also commissioned an Oxygen Plant at the Yaba Mainland Hospital to mitigate the projected need”.