No fewer than five medical doctors and three other health workers are among 47 new cases of COVID-19 in Benue State.
Deputy Governor and Chairman of Benue State Action Committee on Coronavirus, Benson Abounu, disclosed this at a press conference on Wednesday in Makurdi.
He said, “We have recorded 47 cases so far in Benue. Of the number, three doctors and two ambulance drivers directly involved in taking samples and conveying to Abuja for testing have been infected.
“While the other two doctors infected are not directly working with us [on COVID-19] and then one worker at one of our emergency centres also tested positive for coronavirus.”
Abounu explained that the first recorded death from the virus in the state may have contracted it while on admission for leukemia at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, where he also underwent a major surgery.
He said the deceased patient, until three days before his death, when he started coughing and his sample taken for COVID-19 testing, had access to family members, caregivers and friends, who visited him at the facility.
He added, “He [deceased] had a major surgical operation 20 days ago and was managed for that issue. It was Leukemia.
“Three days to his demise, he started coughing and we took his sample to Abuja, which result returned positive on Tuesday evening, a day after he gave up the ghost on Monday.
“The belief is that while he was in the hospital, he contracted COVID-19 because he was managed at the General Ward and people, relations, among others, were coming to see him.”
The deputy governor further disclosed that, following the demise of the patient, his committee had already traced 56 health workers, who came across the deceased while he was hospitalised and that over 100 people, including relatives, believed to have also had contact with the deceased, have been traced.
Abounu hinted that his committee would deliberate on enforcing the wearing of face masks by residents of the state, adding that there would be a total lockdown if adequate care is not taken.
Abounu fingered the nonchalant attitude of high profile people, who break the rules of inter-state travel ban, as reason for the rising cases of the virus infection in Benue.
He said that the 47 cases in the state consisted of 26 males and 21 females.