By Ikhili. Ebalu, Benin City
As various states governments now engage stringent measures to check the spread of coronavirus in their respective jurisdictions, Edo state government says it will declare total lockdown only when it becomes absolutely necessary.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, disclosed this on Wednesday after conducting journalists round the isolation centre in Benin, the State capital.
It would be recalled that many state governments have declared total lockdown as control measure for COVID-19.
But, speaking to journalists, Okundia said the State government has considered a total lockdown for the state as the last option.
“The government of Edo state has reviewed this issue over and over again. What we have currently is partial lockdown, but when it becomes absolutely necessary, we may take that decision for a complete lockdown.
“Knowing fully well that Edo state is bordered by several states, if Anambra puts a lockdown on its borders, they have also blocked Edo state boarder, if Delta State blocks their border, they have also helped us block our borders.
“If the other states block their borders, we are already protected. But, when it becomes absolutely necessary, our state government will take that decision,” he said.
Commenting on the preparedness of the state to combat coronavirus, the Commissioner disclosed that the 12-bed capacity isolation centre is ready and fully equipped with ventilators and other necessary things.
“This has been ready for function for about three or four weeks now. The only thing is that no patient is here yet and currently, all the personnel are undergoing facility training. This place is ready to handle any case of coronavirus disease.
“This is a small facility, it has a capacity of six males, six females bed capacity, and the reason why the Governor decides to expand a bigger facility there. The new isolation centre boasts of 28-bed capacity, with two large wards and up to about four private wards,” he said.
Dr. Okundia also explained that not all who tested positive to the virus needed to be hospitalised at the isolation centre, except those who’s conditions are already critical.
“There are guidelines and protocol. But until the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), they will be the one to inform us, then we will trace all the contacts.
“There are guidelines about the case management. If you see a patient who does not have any symptoms at all and the rest result comes out positive, such a patient is not for isolation centre. There is what we call holding centre, which we already have in this Stella Obasanjo Hospital and Ogbe Nursing Home.
“The regulation says if the patient has a private facility where he can be held, all he needs to do is apply the infection prevention and control measures, preventing him from getting in contact with anybody, the patient can stay in that private facility while our surveillance team going to him everyday to monitor him.
“It’s only when he starts to develop symptoms that we start to give him treatment. And if the symptoms get worse and is now requiring hospitalisation, where you now need a ventilator, the patient will now be moved to the critical care unit. That’s how it’s being managed.
“There are some cases who are stable and if you take them to the hospital, the environment alone will make them sick. So, it’s all building confidence in the patient; as long as the symptoms are not there, the only wish the patient has is the risk of transmitting the infection to others. So, we keep the patient from every other persons,” he explained