Fresh battle yesterday resurfaced between the management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, (UCTH) and the Cross River state government over a treated and discharged COVID-19 patient.
Chief Medical Director, UCTH, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme had claimed that one confirmed positive case of coronavirus in the state has been treated and discharged by the hospital. But in a quick response, the state government still maintained its early position as a free COVID-19 state.lt also distanced itself from the claim by the hospital authority.
The position of the state government was contained in a statement signed by Dr. Betta Edu, Commissioner for Health, and was made available to Hanoky Media. Dr. Edu who also serves as the state chairman Response Team for COVID-19 argued that the hospital did not use the recommended standard machines approved by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct the test.
He stressed that the hospital used rapid antibody testing methodology which is not approved by NCDC.
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“It is important to state that an index COVID-19 case can only be confirmed with 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”, he explained.
He noted that the state government has commenced proper investigation to ascertain the claim by the hospital, adding that her findings would be made public.
“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!
“We use this opportunity to further call on the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC to as a matter of urgency, to support Cross River state in the fight against COVID-19′, he said.
Similarly, Hanoky Media uncovered a separate statement dated 25 June 2020 with the headline: UCTH Staff Health Advisory – Corona Virus Pandemic and it was suspected that the signature therein was that of the CMD.
“The management of UCTH is aware of the agitation and uncertainties associated with Corona Virus Pandemic in the state with recent developments, it does appear that the state may not be free of COVID-19 as generally believed.
“A recent rapid test carried out on a patient came out positive. However, the patient had recovered and was discharged from our isolation center last week.”
He urged management and staff and patients to protect themselves, maintaining that the healthcare givers must, however, without prejudice make themselves available.
Also, he said UCTH has been in direct contact with the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control, which has approved the hospital as an independent test centre.
The implication of the approval is that “henceforth, the hospital does not need to pass samples through the epidemiology unit of the state as was earlier the case.