How lots of Covid-19-positive people roam the streets of Katsina State

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In Katsina State, there are lots of Covid-19-positive people innocently roaming the streets.Coronavirus

Their samples were collected and they tested +ve for the virus, but the authorities have made no effort to contact them.

For those who confirm their +ve status, it’s their responsibility to trace and bring their contacts to the test centre; nobody calls or visits them for contact tracing. And this is for people who are ‘lucky’ to even learn of their results in good time.

This is big deal because Katsina is the state with fourth highest number of COVID-19 cases — and because it currently has 224 cases, unlike Lagos’ 2,041.

Confusing? I’ll explain but only much later.

Those who should know have expressed concerns about the failure to communicate +ve test results to their owners.

In fact, many know their status only because they have lobbied or worked their social contacts to get their results.

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Most pathetic was the case of a medical doctor who waited well over a week for his result, then had to “call someone who had to call someone else” before he was told he was positive.

Nobody has been able to tell me EXACTLY why this is so, but there’s one major indicator:

The total number of confirmed cases (224) is almost four times the total number of available bed spaces (57) at the government-designated isolation centres.

At the FMC Katsina, two amenity wards with a combined 20 rooms plus another 12-bed capacity isolation ward were reserved for Covid-19 patients.

At the General Amadi Rimi Specialist and Orthopedic Hospital (GARSH), the 20-bed isolation ward has been exhausted.

The one in Daura has only five beds. If all positive patients are notified, where will they be isolated?

“The issue of bed space is catastrophic,” one patient who couldn’t get bed space three days after testing +ve told me.

Yet this is not the only problem. There is real worry that Katsina’s number of confirmed Covid-19 cases could soon eclipse the available number of PPE.

The lack of PPE has been linked to an increasing number of healthcare workers testing +ve for the virus.

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I know of five doctors, four nurses and two theatre staff who have tested +ve in the last three days alone.

Meanwhile, before passing away on Tuesday, the CMD of a hospital exhibited Covid-19 symptoms after having contact with a patient without wearing the PPE.

Lots of HCWs in Katsina feel vulnerable in this moment.

They are dissatisfied with the state government’s lackadaisical attitude towards PPE provision.

Even patients have told me that while the basics such as gloves and face masks are there, you’d rarely see a HCW in a face shield or Hazmat Suit.

The Katsina State govt says it has closed its borders to interstate movement.

But if you happen to find yourself around Batagarawa, at the end of Katsina metropolis, for example, you would be stunned by the influx of people into town via public means of transportation.

The government has been unable to enforce the lockdown or make the public see its value.

There is also a communication gap and lack of collaboration between the authorities and the management of hospitals.

For instance, GARSH has an isolation centre but not a holding area, which means suspected cases are first sent out of the hospital until their statuses have been confirmed, then they’re back at the hospital if positive.

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No easier way to spread the virus round. All hospitals within the state should have a holding area. That’s the only way to ensure suspected cases don’t endanger the society.

I’ve also found out that nobody bothers to as much as take the temperature of visitors entering the hospital, whether they’re wearing a face mask or not. The careless handling of this pandemic in Katsina is surely a reason for the rise in community transmission.

I said in Thread 2 that I’d explain the conflict of Katsina’s Covid ranking and low numbers.

Being the state with the fourth highest number of confirmed cases means the potential for sky-high numbers is real, if the state’s response is improperly coordinated.

Having only 224 cases is also worrying.

If there are only 224 cases and bed space is almost impossible to secure, what would we be saying should the cases rise to 500 or more?

I know there’s a lot of attention on Lagos, Abuja and Kano, but Katsina is one state @NCDCgov and the @Fmohnigeria need to keep an eye on.

Source: Fisayo Soyombo

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