By Bassey Inyang
The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital ( UCTH), yesterday announced five new positive cases of COVID-19 in its Isolation and Treatment Centre in Cross River State.
This brings to six the number of positive cases for the virus reported in the state since Thursday, June 25, when the hospital announced the first case of the patient which its management said was successfully treated.
The latest announcement of the presence of the virus contradicts the official position of the state government which had insisted, from the outset, that the territory was free of any COVID-19 infection.
The announcement from the UCTH came barely 24 hours after the State Governor Professor Ben Ayade, and his cabinet and some of his aides danced hilariously on Thursday, at the Government House field, Calabar, celebrating what they described as the nonexistence of COVID-19 in the state.
At the event, Ayade addressed members of the State COVID-19 Response Taskforce, and said he was delighted that the state has so far remained free of the virus.
“As a general treatment protocol, in hospitals in Cross River State, people are so well trained and equipped with public enlightenment. This accounts for one of the reasons for the zero COVID-19 case in the state.
“We introduced the use of nose masks early. In fact, we were the first to lock our borders, we introduced face shields. We were the first in anything that were required as defensive mechanism against COVID-19. So, it became obvious and clear that we were able to contain with other airborne-related diseases. So, we have no reason to suggest that there is pandemic in Cross River. Statistics also show it….
“It is a pandemic, therefore, when you say somebody has Coronavirus, it means it can spread to all family members, they will all come down with it. You can’t hide it.
“Mischief makers are wondering why Cross River which is surrounded by COVID-19 infested states and country is free from it but they forget that Coronavirus is not politics, it is not a political issue but a biological issue and therefore, can be contained, can be dealt it,” Ayade said.
The latest cases of five of its patient that have tested for the virus was made on behalf of the management of the UCTH through an internal memo, dated July 3, 2020, signed by the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Professor Ikpeme A. Ikpeme.
The internal memo entitled “ UCTH Staff Health Advisory: Re: Covid-19 Pandemic,” which was sighted by journalists read in part: “ The Management of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital ( UCTH), wished to inform her staff and patients that Covid-19 test performed on 5 samples from our hospital returned positive. Two of these samples came from our medical staff. These staff have since made progress along the path of recovery and are doing well.
“The test were performed using the PRC Technique at the NCDC Accredited Laboratory located at Alex Ekweme University Teaching Hospital, Abakiliki. Management has duly informed the Cross River State Government and other agencies of Government.”
The UCTH management urged its staff and members of the public not to panic because Covid-19 was not a death sentence, as indicated by the infected staff who have recovered after receiving treatment in the hospital.
While stating that the management of the UCTH will continue to support its staff to carry out their duty of providing healthcare, the announcement encourage those with symptoms of the Covid-19 to make themselves available for test so the spread of the virus can be contained.