Since 27th February, 2020 when COVID-19 made its entrance into our country from Italy, Nigeria responded by setting up a Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, which quickly identified high risk areas for Nigeria namely Lagos and Abuja.
Though we remain in prayer and hopes that the virus will elude us in Abia, we prepared like all other states for the rainy day.
– we provided 2 isolation centers in Aba and Umuahia with a combined capacity for about 50 patients
– and there is an additional facility at Federal Medical Centre (FMC)
– we trained all our front line officers down to the PrImary Health Care (PHC) level,
– we provided 6 state owned ambulances
– we provided ventilators, oxygen concentrators, patient monitors and more than enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
– Government banned public gatherings and eventually locked down the state.
Yesterday, the 20th day of April, 2020 we recorded the first 2 cases of COVID-19 patients.
The significance of this index case in Abia is multiple fold. At least, it proves that COVID-19 is real.
Secondly, the two patients are old (70 and 72 years old respectively) and have no previous history of travel at least in the recent past.
This pretty much looks more like community transmission, placing a huge burden on our shoulders as citizens to continue with the lockdown and maintain social distancing.
This morning, we have dispatched our officers on rigorous contact tracing exercise.
We must thank and encourage our front line officers who put their lives at risk for the sake of all of us. They have previously followed and tracked all previously reported cases, ‘Miracle’ was tracked and tested with negative result. ‘Prosper’ was also apprehended and tested and it turned out negative, among many more already tested.
The days ahead will be difficult and calls for more courage and commitment in the hands of our front line officers and all citizens.
Government will continue to provide all the PPE required to protect our medical and paramedical personnel. We are sending a consignment of additional PPEs and other materials to support Federal Medical Center ( FMC), Umuahia
Government will insist that all borders shall remain locked till further notice.
All our citizens should remember that wearing of face masks in Abia is compulsory.
Government will encourage all citizens to continue to practice social distancing and strict rules of hand washing as well as use of sanitizers.
We shall embark in massive contact tracing across all the LGAs where these index cases have been associated with in the recent past. Hence, Ikwuano, Ukwa West and Umuahia North will be covered during this contact tracing.
The private clinic where one of these patients was treated is hereby closed to the public until properly disinfected while all the doctors and nurses who attended to them still remain quarantined until the result of their tests is out.
The state shall embark on massive community testing drawing samples from ward to ward even in local governments that are remote to the target LGAs and the details will be announced.
It is important to note that both patients had underlying medical conditions ranging from Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Stroke and Heart failure. However, we are optimistic that our medical team and the team at FMC are capable of doing a good job, God helping them.
Finally, Ndi Abia, let’s take heed. Remain at home.
Dr Okezie Ikpeazu
Governor, Abia State