The Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force says it has recorded 54 new cases of the disease as announced by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Dr Inodu Apoku, Deputy Chairman of COVID-19 Task Force, said during a press briefing on Wednesday in Yucaipa that out of the 54 cases, eight were health professionals.
Apoku, also Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Health, said the 54 cases were from its over 300 pending samples of COVID -19 suspected cases in various COVID-19 laboratories across the South-South zone.
“In the past two weeks, we have had over 300 pending samples of COVID -19 suspected cases in various COVID -19 laboratories across the South-South.
“The laboratories were having issues with reagents and supplies and as such the delays in returning results.
“Yesterday, being Tuesday, we received results of 76 samples and 54 of these returned positive for COVID -19. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 86 in the State.
“We are expecting more test results from today as well. Eleven of these positive cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases, eight are health care professionals.
“All the positive cases are being reached and counsel for evacuation to our Isolation Facilities. All their contacts are being line listed and adequately followed up including necessary environmental decontamination.
“Samples have and are still being collected from their high -risk contacts while they have all been counselled on self-quarantine. Risk communication and community engagement are ongoing.
“Yes, we send average of 40 samples on daily basis to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Reference and other Laboratories across the South -South,” he explained.
He noted that the core of our COVID -19 mitigation strategy was to test aggressively, isolate, treat and conduct robust contacts tracing.
“It is also now apparent we are dealing with community transmission.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure we have our own Molecular laboratory in the State following the donation of a brand-new RT-PCR Machine by the SHELL Joint Partners to the State.
“Permit me to seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the health care workers particularly the frontlines who have been tireless in their resolve and commitment to the COVID -19 response in the state.
“Let me reiterate that we still believe in the opportunities and the gains of prevention and early detection while building our capacity to manage COVID-19 seamlessly,” Apoku said.
The Deputy Chairman urged the general public to imbibe the regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
“Always keep social distancing, at least two meters (6 feet) distance between you and anyone, avoid crowds and always wear a face mask in any public places.
“Endeavour to practice good respiratory hygiene: when sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve at the flexed elbow or with a tissue. Then dispose-off the used tissue safely, immediately.
“Exposed persons should stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing and notify relevant authorities immediately,” he explained.