*Govt calls for calm
By Martins Ifijeh
At least 181 students and staff members of a private school in Lekki have tested positive for COVID-19, the Lagos State Goverment has announced.
The Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi has however called for calm, emphasizing that residents must continue to obey health protocols as the virus was still very much around.
In a statement made available to THISDAY Friday, he said the development was captured during surveillance and case investigation in the school, adding that there were 141 students and staff in the school.
Abayomi said: “A 14-year-old SS1 female student fell ill on October 3 and was sent home after receiving first aid at the school. The student subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday October 6 in one of the accredited private labs in Lagos.
“I am assuring Lagosians that the state government, through the incident commands system, has the situation under control, stressing that appropriate steps have been taken to contain the spread and manage the positive cases. He noted that all parents have been contacted and counselled via a family zoom call on 13th October to further allay their fears and communication between school authorities and parents continues. The zoom call was attended by the commissioners for Health and Education and all relevant responders and stakeholders.
“There is a total lockdown and movement restriction in the school with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Pillar of the EOC and Ibeju-Lekki LGA State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) reporting at the school daily to conduct further investigation while positive students and staff have been isolated on the premises and given the COVID-19 home-care treatment packs and are being monitored in isolation within the school premises,” Abayomi said.
The commissioner stated that the school authorities supported by the state Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education were following the COVID-19 guidelines as set out by the government. According to him, “students are to be isolated in the School premises and if unwell will be admitted in one of the accredited isolation centers in Lagos. Students are discouraged from going home to avoid infecting members of their families”.
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Ministry of Education to jointly manage this minor but significant outbreak in this boarding school. “I am pleased to announce that all the infected students are predominantly asymptomatic while some have very mild symptoms, no student has required hospitalization,” he said.
“Members of the Emergency Operation Center and our counterparts in the Ministry of Education have been deployed to the school to provide strategic interventions and support to the school. This includes psychosocial support, infection prevention control, medical monitoring and risk communication experts to further enlighten and educate affected people,” Abayomi noted.
The Commissioner reemphasized the need for citizens to practise the highest standard of personal and environmental hygiene , stressing that use of face mask in public places, proper hand washing and hand hygiene practice and maintaining physical distance will help prevent the spread of the infection.
“COVID-19 is still very much with us and we must strive to prioritize the safety of all, including students and teachers, by adhering strictly to prevention protocols and guidelines issued by government to prevent its spread,” Abayomi said.
He urged Lagosians to call the 08000EKOMED or 08000356633 toll-free line if they notice any sign or symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue or loss of taste or smell.