Patients suspected to be infected with coronavirus in Bayelsa State have decried the delays in getting results from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control laboratories in Benin, Edo State, and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
A medical personnel, who spoke on the development, said that the delays had caused some stress on medical manpower at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, and the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri.
The doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more than 10 of them who had completed the two-week isolation could not go back to work until the results are out.
The source stated, “As it stands, a lot of us who have been involved with managing patients who are confirmed COVID-19 positive, according to the protocols, will go into self-isolation for two weeks.
“After the period, we cannot still have results of our samples sent for tests at Irua Specialist Hospital in Benin and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital; we do not know what is causing the delays.
“There are speculations that the COVID-19 response is having funding constraints as some of the officials claimed when we called to tell them that the delay was making it difficult as we couldn’t return without being certified fit.”
But the state government through its Task Force on Covid-19 acknowledged the delays, explaining that it was due to scarcity of reagents at the NCDC laboratories in Benin and Port Harcourt.
Co-Chairman of Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, Dr Nathaniel Apoku, said the state, in the last two weeks, had over 300 pending samples of suspected coronavirus cases at laboratories.
He said that the state in the last two weeks had over 300 pending samples of suspected COVID-19 cases at laboratories.
He said the laboratories were having issues with reagents and supplies, hence the delay in returning the results.
Apoku said, “Yesterday, we received results from 76 samples; 54 returned positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 86 in the state. We are expecting more test results from today as well.
“Eleven of these positive cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases; eight are healthcare professionals.”
He dismissed speculations that the delays were caused by the task force, saying that the COVID-19 team chaired by Governor Douye Diri, was working hard to establish a world-class molecular laboratory to carry out the tests in the state.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that we have our own molecular laboratory in the state, following the donation of a new RT-PCR machine by Shell joint venture partners to the state,” Apoku said.
However, investigation showed that the worst affected persons were medical personnel, who reportedly had contacts with confirmed cases, went into self-isolation for two weeks and the test results are still being awaited.
Also speaking on the development, Dr Johnbull Jumbo, Chairman of Medical Advisory Committee, NDUTH, the leading COVID-19 management centre in Bayelsa, said there were many suspected COVID-19 cases awaiting results of tests by the NCDC.
Meanwhile, the NCDC on Wednesday through its official Twitter handle confirmed an additional 25 cases for Bayelsa, making a total of 79 cases in a day, having confirmed 54 earlier.