The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state has 280-bed isolation capacity, 28 ventilators, 10 Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and is setting up 100 screening centres across the state to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a broadcast monitored in Benin City on Tuesday, Governor Obaseki said the state is deploying its resources to confront the pandemic, noting that even though the state prays for the best, it is preparing for the worst-case scenario.
According to him, “The pandemic is real, and like the rest of the world, we are fighting to get ahead of the outbreak and protect our people. So far, we have two confirmed cases in Edo state.”
He said the Edo State plan to combat the COVID-19 virus is centred around creating awareness, training the state’s healthcare workforce, screening, testing and providing prompt treatment.
“We now have Isolation Centres with a total of 280 beds located at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital Benin, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Irrua Specialist Hospital and the Auchi General Hospital.
“In addition, we have secured 25 additional ventilators increasing the total number of ventilators to 28. 10 Intensive Care Units now exists in the state to take care of critical cases,” he noted.
Obaseki continued, “To this end, we are ensuring that everyone living in Edo state whether in the cities or rural areas is provided with ample information about the COVID-19 virus so that they can protect themselves and their families.
“We are providing training for over 6,000 Healthcare professionals from public and private institutions so that they can have appropriate information and tools to support and care for our people.
“We stand a good chance to win the fight against Covid-19, if we all obey the social distancing measures and the government’s stay-at-home order as prescribed. This is what will help us reduce further spread of the virus.
“In order to understand the magnitude of the Covid-19 problem in our state, we need to screen and test people. Therefore, we are establishing over 100 screening points across all LGAs made up of teaching hospitals, general hospitals, primary health centres and private hospitals.
“Anyone with the known symptoms or suspects they may have been exposed can go and talk to a trained healthcare worker who will provide care according to the defined protocol. This is offered free of charge to our people.”
He noted that the state government is “working closely with the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital – one of the 6 designated testing Centres in Nigeria – to expand their capacity so that they can test more people. Additionally, we are planning to open a new specialized testing centre in Benin City.”
Noting that the state’s response to the pandemic is holistic, he said, “I chair the Edo State COVID-19 Response Committee which meets daily to evaluate and review all the latest development as it relates with COVID-19, while the Deputy Governor is chairman of the technical committee.
“The COVID-19 virus does not move. It is people that move it and then spread it. You can stop its spread by maintaining social distancing and staying at home while the healthcare workers do their best in containing the virus. In case of any emergency, please dial 112 and the issues will be resolved accordingly.”
“I understand very much that any kind of shut down or restrictions of movement will create economic hardship for our people, however this has proven to be the most effective solution worldwide. To ease the pain resulting from the shutdown and movement restrictions, we are developing palliatives in consultation with the federal government and our partners.”
He thanked healthcare professionals who have generously volunteered their time and expertise; and are working tirelessly to attend to the healthcare needs of the people.
“We thank our partners who have donated items, food supplies and cash to our Covid-19 accounts and appeal to other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to assist in providing additional palliative measures,” he added.