Nigeria

COVID-19 still spreading, Oyo government warns

Oyo State government says that in the last two weeks it recorded 97 cases of COVID-19, warning individuals that coronavirus is still spreading and people should ensure they get tested when they have such symptoms as fever and cough.

Dr Akinfemi Akinyode, the state epidemiologist, giving an overview of COVID-19 in the state at a sensitisation programme for journalists by the state government, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Gizo, a German-based organisation stated that 3427 cases had been recorded with 42 deaths from COVID-19 in Oyo State.

Akinyode, saying that most of the people infected were between ages 20 and 49 years, stated that three out of every 10 persons tested in Orelope local government as well as one to two of every 10 persons tested in the five local governments in Ibadan tested positive for COVID 19.

He stated that two out of every 1000 people in Oyo State had been tested for COVID-19 because of apathy to testing by individuals even when they had COVID-19 like symptoms despite available facilities to access COVID-19 test virtually in all local government areas and general hospitals in the state.

According to Dr Akinyode, COVID-19 was fuelled in the state by enclosed spaces where they use air conditioners and crowded environment just as stigma, patients’  refusal to test and divulge information on their contacts and confirmed cases refusal to self-isolate were challenges to ensuring people get tested for COVID transmission.

“The highest number of tests had been done in Ibadan North local government while only 14 people had been tested in the whole of Iwajowa Local government.  Around June we had a large number that was testing.

“But today, people are no longer testing maybe they feel that COVID-19 is gone, but if we don’t test how do we know if we have COVID-19 or not. So we want to encourage the public to test when they have COVID-19 like symptoms.

“For example, in Igboora, in the last few weeks, we have not seen anybody test, the people are there waiting for those that want to test but people are not coming.”

Dr Pelumi Adebiyi, a public health expert, stated that Nigeria is in a phase of pandemic fatigue and urged for a paradigm shift in COVID-19 media messaging to ensure that media narratives on the pandemic are relevant to the individual’s value system while ensuring that individuals live their lives but reduce their risk of contracting the infection.

Earlier, Oyo State Commissioner for health, Dr Bashir Bello acknowledged the role of the media in the fight against COVID-19 said there had been an increase in positivity rate for COVID 19 in state and already machinery set in motion to control it.

Dr Bello stated that COVID testing is free and urged individuals to get tested without the fear of stigmatization because the test results are confidential.

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