There was anxiety among workers of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (AUTH) as a patient admitted into the hospital’s casualty ward tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
A source within the hospital told Nigeriastandardng that the patient, a man, was admitted on April 25, 2020.
It was learnt that when he started showing symptoms of COVID-19, the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) attached to the isolation centre at the hospital were promptly invited to take his samples for test.
The source said when the test came out positive, the workers ran away, leaving other patients in the ward.
“The patient was admitted on Saturday evening and those on duty took his medical history. But it did not include cough and fever. It was when the medical team came that it was included.
“However, when his temperature became high on Sunday, the workers nursing him raised the alarm and the NCDC officials were immediately notified. They came and took his sample on Sunday afternoon. The result came out positive on Tuesday evening and he was immediately evacuated to the isolation centre,” the source said.
As the time of this report, the ward had been shut down by the management while the workers were advised to self-isolate for 14 days before their samples will be taken for testing.
It was not immediately clear how many workers, visitors and patients had contact with the patient before his test came out.
But the source, who was among those who nursed him, placed the number of workers at about 20. Efforts by our reporter to reach the hospital’s spokesperson via calls and texts did not yield any response.
But in a memo to the workers by the Chairman of the hospital’s Medical Advisory Council, Dr. Nicholas Baalong, the management directed that any patient who comes to the hospital without a face mask should not be attended to.
In the memo, dated April 29, 2020, the hospital management said: “Recall the earlier memo on the above, dated March 24, 2020. We wish to sincerely thank all our Staff for the understanding, support and cooperation over the last 4 weeks since we tried to put some measures in place aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus within our facility.
“In view of the recent pronouncements from the Government, we shall continue to observe closely as events unfold. Our clinical activities for now still remain low except for the emergency services.
“Management wishes to take measures to further protect our healthcare professionals and the community within the hospital which include strict adherence to the principal of universal precaution using basic hygiene practice of regular hand washing with the provided hypochloride solution in water placed at designated points within the hospital.
“All Staff should be on Face-Mask at all times once within the hospital premises. All patients and their relations coming into the hospital should be on face-mask. Patients without face-mask would not be able to access care in the facility. Management is making frantic efforts to ensure availability of PPEs.”