Gentlemen of the Press,
1. I welcome you all to this very important press briefing to update you on Ekiti State present status on COVID-19 and how far we have gone as a State to contain the spread of the pandemic in our dear State.
2. The State recorded its first confirmed index case of Coronavirus or COVID 19 on March 15, 2020 and he was treated and discharged on 31st March, 2020.
3. Barely 24hrs after the first index case was discharged, the State recorded its second case. He was also discharged on Tuesday, April 9, 2020 after treatment.
4. Sadly, Ekiti State has confirmed a third COVID-19 positive case. This new case is a pregnant 29-year-old female Community Health Worker in Ikorodu Lagos State who sneaked into Ekiti State overnight on Friday April, 10 2020 suspectedly to take advantage of our free maternal health care in spite of the lockdown. She presented at a State Comprehensive Primary Healthcare facility in active labour on Monday April 13, 2020. After a prolonged labour with fatal distress, she was referred to a teaching hospital but decided to go to a private hospital instead. A caesarean section was performed on the patient and the baby was delivered safely.
5. However, she suffered a cardiac arrest and was referred to the Federal Teaching Hospital Ido Ekiti where she is currently unconscious. The suspicion of COVID-19 infection and subsequent testing was at the Federal Tertiary institution.
6. The Ekiti State COVID-19 Taskforce has already commenced contact tracing of the new case as at this morning, we have over 30 primary contacts on our list already. The baby is alive and under surveillance while the private clinic has been sealed off and medical personnel who interacted with this case during her obstetrics and gynaecology emergency have been contacted and put in self isolation. By the time we include secondary and tertiary contacts, this one case may have put hundreds of unsuspecting people at risk of COVID-19 infection in Ekiti State.
7. As at today, Ekiti State has had 29 suspected cases, 2 confirmed cases, and 49 contact tracing persons of interest before this new case. Thankfully, all the contacts traced have not shown any symptoms of infection.
8. This unfortunate incident underscores the reasoning behind our emphasis on protecting Ekiti State from an outbreak of the pandemic by my directive of total lockdown of movement. The infidelity of our people and the security personnel enabled this patient to gain access to our state even during a boundary shut down, therefore putting the lives of so many people at risk, and putting Ekiti State under the dreaded possibility of community infection.
9. Due to this new case, Government may have to consider further extension of the lockdown at least until all possible direct and indirect contacts of this woman have been traced and placed in self-isolation as minimum period of incubation is 14 days for every new infection.
10. As widely acknowledged, COVID-19 is spread from person to person. The three (3) cases so far recorded in Ekiti State were from people who contacted it elsewhere but incubated and manifested while they were within our state. This underscore the need for every one of us to respect and accept the lockdown order and principles of social distancing.
11. The State Government is being proactive to curtail the spread of the virus in the State. You are all aware that since the first signs of the Coronavirus in Nigeria, Ekiti State Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event of an infection. We have mobilized instruments and resources to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.
12. We are already working to increase the bed space of our isolation centre from 10 to 120 beds in case of an exponential outbreak but our best defense against the deadly disease is still prevention. As we speak, COVID-19 has no cure. Though I am aware that Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine to combat the virus.
13. Reports of total disregard of the preventive directives especially at our boundary towns is very discouraging. The wellbeing and protection of Ekiti-kete is my priority and these measures were introduced to keep everyone safe and we will not hesitate to enforce and punish further violations of these directives in the collective interest of the State and its residents. Two days ago, my brother Governors and I in the Southwest agreed on total lockdown of inter state transportation except for those on clearly designated essential duties. I just finished a meeting with all our security chiefs and they have clear instructions on what to do with those who flout the lockdown directives.
14. We are fully aware that such measures will cause some hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in some countries and even the increasing rate of the virus in Nigeria. As I am sure, many of you are now aware, I lost a very dear friend early this morning and those who are taking this lightly should note it is not a joke!
15. We are not unmindful of the citizens whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we have deployed and will continue to deploy relief materials to ease their pains. Food Bank Packs from the State Government and Conditional Cash Transfer from the Federal Government are some of the measures we using to cushion the effect of the COVID 19 on our people.
16. I also call on all well-meaning individuals, Corporate Bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations to support those who are vulnerable within the State, helping them with whatever they may need.
17. Ekiti-kete, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our State.
18. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners. I sincerely thank our Baba, the Grand Patron the Resources Mobilisation Committee, Aare Afe Babalola, Chief ‘Wole Olanipekun, Architect Dipo Ajayi, Chief Bayo Awosemusi and all others who have channelled their resources to fight the coronavirus in our dear State.
19. I will therefore implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.
20. I use this opportunity to commend all our public health workforce, health care workers, Security agencies and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. We are still not there as more are expected from us all. Together we can fight and win the deadly virus.
21. Gentlemen of the Press, I thank you all for listening.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON