COVID-19: 939 undergo home treatment in Ogun, Bayelsa, Katsina, others

Following the shortage of bedspaces for COVID-19 patients at isolation centres in the country, no fewer than 939 patients are undergoing home treatment in six states across the country.

The states include Ogun, Bayelsa, Katsina, Oyo and Osun.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at its briefing on June 11 said 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients were being managed outside isolation centres due to the shortage of bed spaces in the isolation centres. It noted that government was considering home treatment for some patients, especially cases that could be managed outside the centres.

Given the rising number of cases in recent times, the Ogun State government said no fewer than 352 patients were undergoing home treatment in the state.

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Tomi Coker, said the state had a guideline for the health care workers involved in home treatment. “We have 1,063 confirmed cases, of which 693 have got better and have been discharged. The 352 persons are included in the 1,063.”

In Oyo State, the Incident Manager, COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, said no fewer than 400 asymptomatic COVID-19 patients were under home management as a result of shortage of space at the existing isolation facilities in the state, noting however that the state did not encourage home treatment for symptomatic patients.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday, Ladipo said, “We have those on home treatment and we are regularly contacting them. They are doing fine by responding to treatment and we discharged 91 patients on Saturday. We are still looking at about 400 that are still left under home isolation.

“We monitor them per day and we are still trying to review our system. In considering home isolation, we look at factors such as the hygiene level of the home. If there are no rooms and they have to share toilet facilities, we will not accept home isolation for them.”

In Bayelsa State, a member of the Task Force and Director of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Dr Jones Stow, told one of our correspondents that 141 coronavirus patients were currently undergoing treatment at home in line with NCDC guidelines, noting that “all the patients have been seen by a specialist on an out-patient basis.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the state had recorded 299 cases, out of which 128 were still active, 153 were discharged and 18 dead.

Giving reasons for the adoption of the home treatment option, Stow said, “We have a total of 60-bed isolation (centres) in the state. So, during the screening process, only the moderate and severe cases were sent to the isolation facilities.”

In Osun State, 37 patients are said to be receiving treatment at home. The Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, told Newsmen that, “37 patients are in self-isolation while others are being managed at our isolation centres. Those that are being treated in their various homes are those we have visited and confirmed they could be managed at home. We support their treatment with drugs and we visit them regularly to monitor them.”

In Katsina State, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Mustapha Kabir, said seven COVID-19 patients were receiving treatment at home.

In Benue State, Naija442 gathered that the wife of the governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom, and her son, both of whom tested positive for the virus last weekend, were the only patients undergoing home treatment in the state.

As of Saturday afternoon, Benue had 121 cases, out of which 80 were active, 35 discharged and six dead.

A member of the State Action Committee on COVID-19, Bemgba Iortyom, said, “It is only the first lady and her son that are taking treatment at home. We have 100 beds at the teaching hospital and the facilities at the Federal Medical Centre are roughly 30. So, the cases we have now are within the capacity of the facility we have.”

Also, in Akwa Ibom State, the state epidemiologist, Dr Ntiense Umoette, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the state had some patients undergoing home treatment, but she could not ascertain the number.

Lagos to set up oxygenation centres in high-risk LGAs

In Lagos State, the government said it would soon start home treatment, noting that it would construct oxygenation centres in each of the 10 local government areas with the highest cases of the virus.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, on Thursday, told one of our correspondents on the phone, “The home treatment is just about to kick-off fully, so we are in the process of constructing oxygenation centres where people who need oxygen can be quickly resuscitated. It’s just about to commence.”

Asked how many of such centres would be constructed, he said, “We are planning to have at least one in the 10 local governments with the highest incidents.”

The state government had identified the local governments with the highest incident to include Eti Osa, Alimosho, Kosofe, Ikeja, Oshodi, Surulere and Lagos Mainland, Epe, Badagry and Mushin.

NCDC rules out elderly, symptomatic patients from home care

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has ruled out elderly patients and those with severe symptoms from home treatment for COVID-19.

The NCDC, in a document tagged “Interim guidelines for home care of confirmed COVID-19 cases” published on Saturday, said those who test positive for the virus could be treated outside isolation centres.

Apart from age and symptoms, the centre also said patients lacking adequate home accommodation should not be considered for home care.

“Those not recommended (for home care) include any age with severe symptoms; lack of adequate self-isolation facilities e.g. inadequate home accommodation; elderly patients; patients with two or more co-morbidities; any ‘high risk’ patient based on a clinical risk assessment done by a qualified clinician,” the document read.

For those recommended for home care, the centre said they must stay in a well-ventilated single room alone where possible; limit movement in shared spaces such as kitchen and bathroom; regularly wash hands with soap and water and practise respiratory hygiene always.

It also asked that such home patients should discard tissues used to cover nose or mouth during coughing or sneezing into a lined bin which has a well-fitted lid; and wear masks to cover the nose and mouth.

Their household members were also urged to assign one person who is in good health without risk conditions to care for the ill person.

They are warned to stop receiving visitors into the house/accommodation where the ill person is staying; limit contact with anyone outside the household until 14 days after the ill person recovers; and provide and dedicate personal items such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, wash cloths, or bed linen for the patient.

They are further advised to clean and frequently disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as bedside tables, bed frames, chairs, doorknobs, door handles and other bedroom furniture including bathroom and toilet daily with regular household disinfectant while they always stay in a different room from the patient and maintain a minimum of two metres from the patient.

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