Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday ordered the closure of the state’s entry points, following the discovery of a third Coronavirus case.
Fayemi told journalists in the state capital, Ado Ekiti, that the 29-year-old pregnant woman sneaked into the state from Lagos where she was engaged as a Community Health worker.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, the governor was quoted as saying that the state government had so far traced 30 persons who had contact with the woman.
Fayemi said the state government may extend the period of the lockdown beyond April 27 in order to allow for effective tracing of everyone who had direct contact with the new case.
The governor also said security would be beefed up at the state’s boundaries with other neighboring states to check the rate of people sneaking into Ekiti during the lockdown.
He said the new covid-19 confirmed case was first admitted to a state comprehensive primary healthcare facility in active labour from where she moved to a private hospital.
According to the givernor, the patient had a caesarian session at the private clinic, but suffered a cardiac arrest, a development which prompted the clinic to refer her to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, where the doctors became suspicious of her condition and subsequently got her tested for the coronavirus.
The governor said that the state Covid-19 Taskforce has succeeded in tracing over 30 of the patient’s primary contacts including medical personnel who attended to her at the private hospital, adding that they are all currently in self isolation.
He added that by the time both secondary and tertiary contacts were included, the single case may have placed hundreds of unsuspecting people at risk of Covid-19 infection in the state.
“Sadly, Ekiti State has confirmed a third COVID-19 positive case. This new case is a pregnant 29-year-old female Community Health Worker with Lagos State who sneaked into Ekiti State in spite of the lockdown. She presented at a State Comprehensive Primary Healthcare facility in active labour on Monday April 13, 2020.
After a prolonged labour with fatal distress, she was referred to a teaching hospital but decided to go to a private hospital instead.
A caesarean section was performed on the patient and the baby was delivered safely. However, she suffered a cardiac arrest and was referred to the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido-Ekiti where she is currently unconscious. The suspicion of COVID-19 infection and subsequent testing was at the Federal Tertiary institution.
“The Ekiti State COVID-19 Taskforce has already commenced contact tracing of the new case as at this morning, we have over 30 primary contacts on our list already.
“The baby is alive and under surveillance while the private clinic has been sealed off and medical personnel who interacted with this case during her obstetrics and gynecology emergency have been contacted and put in self isolation.
By the time we include secondary and tertiary contacts, this one case may have put hundreds of unsuspecting people at risk of COVID-19 infection in Ekiti State,” he said
Fayemi noted that before the new case, Ekiti State has had 29 suspected cases, 2 confirmed cases, and 49 contact tracing persons of interest but was glad that non of the contacts traced showed any symptoms of the infection.
The governor further explained that the unfortunate incident underscores the reasoning behind government emphasis on protecting Ekiti State from an outbreak of the pandemic by his directive of total lockdown of movement.
He said however that he was not happy with the disloyalty of the people and the security personnel which enabled this patient to gain access to the state even during a boundary shut down, therefore putting the lives of so many people at risk, and putting Ekiti State under the dreaded possibility of community infection.
According to the governor, “Due to this new case, government may have to consider further extension of the lockdown at least until all possible direct and indirect contacts of this woman have been traced and placed in self-isolation as minimum period of incubation is 14 days for every new infection.
“As widely acknowledged, COVID-19 is spread from person to person. The three (3) cases so far recorded in Ekiti State were from people who contacted it elsewhere but incubated and manifested while they were within our state. This underscores the need for every one of us to respect and accept the lockdown order and principles of social distancing.”
He noted that since the first time the dreaded disease was noticed in Nigeria, his government has been proactive in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus in the State, planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event of an infection adding that his administration succeeded in mobilising instruments and resources to confront what has eventually become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.
He disclosed that government was already working to increase the bed space of the isolation centre from 10 to 120 beds in case of an unexpected outbreak.
Dr Fayemi observed that the residents of the state as well as the security personnel has penchant disregard to security and preventive measure put in place by government to keep them safe, saying he not hesitate to enforce and further punish violators of his directives.
The governor however promised to continue to supply the necessary relief materials to indigent and vulnerable residents of the state, noting that government was aware that its efforts would adversely affect the economic well-being of some people.
He said further, “Reports of total disregard of the preventive directives especially at our border towns is very discouraging. The wellbeing and protection of Ekiti-kete is my priority and these measures were introduced to keep everyone safe and we will not hesitate to enforce and further punish violations of these directives in the collective interest of the State and its residents.
“We are fully aware that such measures will cause some hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in some countries and even the increasing rate of the virus in Nigeria.
“We are not unmindful of the citizens whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures; we have deployed and will continue to deploy relief materials to ease their pains. Food Bank Packs from the State Government and Conditional Cash Transfer from the Federal Government are some of the measures we are using to cushion the effect of the COVID 19 on our people.”
While expressing his appreciation to individuals and corporate bodies including the Grand Patron of the Resources Mobilization Committee, Aare Afe Babalola, Chief ‘Wole Olanipekun and all others who have channeled their resources to fight the coronavirus in the State, Dr Fayemi also called on all well-meaning individuals, Corporate Bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations to support those who are vulnerable within the State.
He assured the people of the state of his government commitment towards ensuring their safety but urged them to as well obey government directives on different measures put in place for their safety.