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Hospital, Cross River Govt Disagree Over COVID-19 Status

Thelma Eneji  
Updated June 26, 2020
The Commissioner for Health, Betta Edu.

 

The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and the Cross River State Government have disagreed over the COVID-19 case in the state.

While the hospital’s management claims the state may not be free from the coronavirus disease, the government, however, thinks otherwise.

In a memo issued on Thursday by UCTH Chief Medical Director, Professor Ikpeme Ikpeme, the hospital claimed a recent test carried out on a patient came out positive.

“With recent development, it does appear that the state may not be free of COVID-19 pandemic as generally believed.

“A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive; the patient had recovered and was discharged from our Isolation centre last week,” Ikpeme said.

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But the state Commissioner for Health, Dr.Betta Edu, however, disagrees with the claim.

Edu noted that an “index COVID-19 case can only be confirmed with Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) and not the antibody Rapid Diagnostic test kits which the NCDC had said has very low sensitivity and specificity, therefore, should not be used for COVID 19 diagnosis.”

While stating that the state government has begun a probe into the matter, she maintained that any attempt to label the state as COVID-19 Positive using a rapid antibody testing methodology will be strongly opposed by the government.

“As a state Government we have commenced an investigation into this case and we will get back to the public with our findings.

“All efforts to identify and isolate suspected cases will be encouraged but we denounce any attempt to label CRS COVID-19 Positive using a rapid antibody testing methodology. For now, Cross River State has no confirmed case of COVID-19!” she said.

She also called on the Federal Government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to urgently support the state in its fight against the virus.