The Edo State Government has purchased one more PCR machine and a fresh new batch of 5,000 Viral Transport Medium (VTM), as part of intensified efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, who disclosed this to journalists in Benin City, noted that the laboratory teams of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) have commenced the validation and inspection of two additional PCR machines in Edo State.
The new PCR machine brings to four the total number of PCR machines purchased by the state government since the outbreak of coronavirus in the state.
Okundia noted that the state has revved up its testing and screening capacity, urging residents to use the various opportunities provided by the state government to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
He said the screening and testing exercise would identify the trend of the spread of the virus across the state and help the government ramp up effort and strategies to contain the pandemic.
Okundia, who decried the spate of rising cases in the state, urged all residents to stay at home and comply with government’s directives, aimed at curtailing the spread of the deadly virus.
He said, “As a government, we have intensified efforts at containing the COVID-19 pandemic in Edo State. Apart from awareness and sensitisation against the spread of the virus, we have commenced massive testing and screening across Edo. Laboratory capacity is being strengthened and training of laboratory personnel is ongoing by NCDC, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners; 1 additional PCR machine for testing has been purchased by the state government and delivered.
“NCDC and ISTH Laboratory teams have commenced the validation and inspection of two new PCR in Edo State. We are upgrading laboratory facilities to cater for differential laboratory testing at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital Isolation Centre (SOHIC). Also, we have procured another batch of 5,000 viral transport medium.
“As part of these efforts, we have commenced decontamination of homes/offices of confirmed cases in Edo; we have set up screening facilities (questionnaire-based) in six Primary Health Care (PHC) centres and 4 private health facilities in Oredo LGA, which are being scaled up across the 18 LGAs. We have also commenced mobile screening for residents across the 12 wards in Oredo LGA; this is also being scaled up.”
He added, “We urge all citizens to abide strictly with government directives on social distancing, use of facemask in the public, regular handwashing with soap under running water or using alcohol-based sanitisers, cough etiquette and compliance with the stay-at-home order.
“We appeal to everyone with symptoms of the disease to come for screening, testing and treatment as prompt detection and treatment increases the chances of survival. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, please call these toll-free lines that have been activated by Edo State Government for assistance: 08001235111 or 08002200110.”