Bayelsa State health workers have emerged as the group with the highest risk contracting COVID-19 in the state. Investigations revealed that 82 state health workers have so far tested positive for the virus. Bayelsa State has had 245 total confirmed cases, 127 of which have been discharged, with 102 currently being treated, while 16 deaths have been recorded including that of a health worker.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri, Yenagoa Local Government Area, had recently suspended their industrial action for three weeks to allow the state government resolve their grievances which include protection of health workers and payment of hazard allowances.
The high rate of infection of health workers and the high ratio of deaths at 6.8%, which is higher than the national figure, is giving Governor Douye Diri and the COVID-19 state task force concern. To stem the rate of infection, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been provided to health facilities to protect health workers.
The task force has also identified churches as a major stakeholder not complying with social distancing and preventive protocols in response to the pandemic in the state. This necessitated the meeting Governor Diri had with Christian religious leaders where he explained that church must be ready to comply with health protocols and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease.
The task force is set to intensify its awareness campaign across eight local government areas and markets to ensure people do not hide in their houses to engage in self–medication. Meanwhile, the task force has announced that four COVID-19 patients have been discharged from isolation. The task force advised residents of the state to adhere to public health advisories to reduce transmission in the state.
Recently, the Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room (CISCOV-19) had described as alarming the sudden increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases and deaths recorded in the state over the past weeks.
CISCOV-19, in a statement by Robinson Kuroghobogha and Dise Ogbise, convener and co-convener respectively, said it was even more disturbing that the state government had not given an official explanation for the sharp rise in the number of confirmed patients and fatalities.
The group noted that there was ‘an obvious deficit of information’ provided to citizens as the number of confirmed infections and the death toll had multiplied very much over the last month.