BY: Alobo Eba
The Cross River state COVID-19 Task Force has stated that the state government has commenced massive screening of persons at border communities and areas of interest using the antigen RDT method that has 100% specificity and 95% sensitivity.
The taskforce made the pronouncement during a press briefing held on June 22, 2020. They added that the team is making preparation to train head teachers and principals of schools working with the ministry of Education to prepare them for school resumption which might happen anytime soon.
The task force appealed to residents to ensure strict enforcement of safety public health guidelines. They called on churches, Civil Society Organizations, private sector organizations as well as traditional institutions to talk to those under their care to take full responsibility by adhering to preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization.
They further called on those in the health sector and academia to dedicate more time and resources in researching for possible cure for the pandemic as according to them “You have the capacity to take full advantage of the pandemic as has been the cases in other climes of the world.” They assured researchers of support for the needed data, vaccines and other useful response to COVID-19 pandemic once such proposals are submitted to the taskforce.
The taskforce equally solicited for assistance from the federal government and NCDC for a COVID-19 testing facility in IDH Calabar as according to them “We take no pride in attaining a negative status at the expense of our innocent citizens who depend on us in a time like this.”
According to the task force “Our response have been in all fronts of the prevention, treatment and control of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.”
The team has so far set up a surveillance pillar which consist of both the state and Local Government teams with an Emergency Operation center that responds to all alert and calls from residents at very short notice. According to Dr. Edu “There are 20 rapid response team members at the state level, 90 at the LGA level, totalling 110. We also have 30 contact tracers at the state level, and 10 per LGA, totalling 210 persons.”
The team highlighted some of their challenges to include failure of NCDC to respond to their request for testing site at UCTH, the travel distance , risks and delays at testing centers, case management pillar activities that handles training, staffing, logistics and directly supervises clinical care of patients at isolation centers.
The team added that from data available, over 400 healthcare workers have been trained so far across the state.
As part of the response, the state government in collaboration with the state house of assembly have passed a bill for public health safety during pandemics or outbreaks which has been signed into law by the governor. According to the team “The law stipulates very hard sanctions for persons who violate public health guidelines in the state.”
They called on Cross Riverians to always make use of their mask and observe all measures recommended for their protection.