Spike In Covid-19 Cases Hits Schools

By Mohammed Momoh

Lagos State, Nigeria’s Covid-19 epicenter, has reported more cases of the coronavirus disease in its secondary schools.

The country’s daily count of infections fell below 100 in the last three weeks but started rising against last Monday.

Nigeria has conducted about 673,183 tests since its index case in March and had a total of 63,731 infections as at November 7.

According to data from the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 223 new cases and one death had been recorded by November 6, bringing the number of deaths to 1,156. The number of recoveries stood at 59,844.

With the new statistics, the concern is that the virus is spreading to schools.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said on Monday that besides the 181 cases earlier discovered in a secondary school in Lekki, another had been confirmed at another institution

He said a staff member at a boarding secondary school fell ill and received first aid at its clinic but later tested positive for Covid-19 at the Lagos State Biobank.

Fears allayed

Prof Aboyami said contact tracing was done and a student and four others, who had been in contact with the staff member, also found to have the virus.

“Most of the infected persons are predominantly asymptomatic while some have mild symptoms,” he said, adding the State’s Covid-19 Incident Command System, through the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), was investigating the incident

“We assure members of the public and stakeholders of the school that the situation is completely under control. Steps are being taken to contain the spread within the school and reduce exposure to the community,” he said.

“All parents are being contacted through the Parents Teachers Association. A family zoom call is being arranged to further allay their fears. Students who test positive are to be isolated in the school premises and, if unwell, admitted in one of the accredited isolation centres in Lagos. Students are discouraged from going home to avoid infecting members of their families”

Prof Aboyami said the disease presents very mild symptoms in children and teenagers, compared to other age groups.

He warned, however, of the risk of transmission by infected children to adults, noting they are at higher risk of severe cases and death.

Joint efforts

The commissioner also said the Ministry of Health and the NCDC are working closely with the Ministry of Education to manage the outbreak in the school.

He said members of the State Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), NCDC and their counterparts in the Ministry of Education were deployed to the school to provide strategic interventions and support.

Prof Abayomi said the support includes psycho-social, infection prevention control, medical monitoring and risk communication to further enlighten the people about the disease.

“Covid-19 is still very much with us so we must strive to prioritise the safety of all, including students and teachers, by adhering strictly to prevention protocols and guidelines issued by the government to prevent its spread,” he said.

He advised residents to practice high standards of personal and environmental hygiene by wearing masks in public, washing hands and maintaining physical distance.

The 181 cases were announced on October 16 after a 14-year-old SS1 female student fell ill on October 3.

The learner was sent home after receiving first aid at the school clinic and tested positive for the virus on October 6 at one of the accredited private labs in Lagos.

The school has 441 students.

Source: The Nation

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