The Borno State committee on the prevention and control of COVID-19 on Monday said the first index case of the new coronavirus who died at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital was only tested for the disease after he passed on.
The deputy governor of the state, Umar Kadafur, who briefed journalists Monday in his office, said the patient, a 56 years old nurse working for Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF), was brought in from Pulka, a town in Gwoza local government, with severe “respiratory disease.”
The Nigeria disease control body, NCDC, and WHO has listed such respiratory ailment as one of the symptoms of the new coronavirus disease.
Despite his critical condition, the patient was admitted to the general male medical ward of the teaching hospital where medical personnel battled to save his life. No test for COVID-19 was carried out on him while he was alive.
The management of the teaching hospital has not explained why the deceased nurse, who was brought to the hospital with symptoms associated with the COVID-19 disease did not have his blood sample taken for testing as required.
According to the deputy governor, the deceased was only tested for COVID-19 after he had passed on.
“I hereby wish to announce to the general public that a case of COVID-19 disease was confirmed in Maiduguri on Sunday 19 April 2020 by NCDC,” he said.
“He was a 56 years old citizen of Borno who was brought in from Pulka with features of severe respiratory disease. He was managed in the UMTH but unfortunately, he succumbed to the disease.
“However nasal swab specimen was collected from the body, which was tested positive for neo-corona virus disease at the COVID-19 reference laboratories in the UMTH and validated by the NCDC.
“The remains of the deceased have been buried according to the standard and protocols for disposals of infectious disease.”
Newsmen are in possession of a viral video showing how the deceased COVID-19 patient was being processed for burial by officials wearing body protection equipment, many hours before NCDC confirmed he died of the coronavirus.
The deputy governor also revealed that so far, a total of 97 persons, who have had contact with the deceased, are being traced for testing and isolation.
“All contacts of the deceased are being traced, and necessary measures to prevent further spread would be put in place,” the deputy governor said.
“To this point, about 97 persons of interest have been traced and strategic testing instituted. Thirty-five (35) in Pulka and 64 in Maiduguri.
“Furthermore, the organization he works for in Pulka has been directed to provide line list, profile and quarantine all his contacts and submit the same to the committee for action.
He said a team of surveillance and case management personnel have been deployed to Pulka for further investigation and sample collection.
He called on the people of Borno State to acknowledge the fact that “COVID-19 is real.”
“No nation or people are immune. It is indeed a trial from Allah and He alone could avert this trial from us. However, as a people, we need to demonstrate strict adherence to all preventive measures and advice to reduce the spread of this disease. People are advised to wash their hands with soap and water regularly, avoid overcrowding and use hand sanitisers.”
He added that the public health emergency centre for COVID-19 will be activated in line with procedures.
The University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) is yet to explain or issue a statement on how it managed the patient who was brought into its facility with symptoms of the COVID-19 before he died days later, while still on admission.
Head of Information at the UMTH, Justina Anaso, who was contacted by our reporter for clarifications on how the deceased COVID-19 patient was managed at the hospital before he died, promised to revert as soon as she clears with the hospital management on the matter. She is yet to do so.