It was shocking news on Friday as the Lagos State Commissioner for Helth, Professor Akin Abayomi disclosed that 181 students and staff of a private boarding school in the Lekki area of Lagos state have tested positive for COVID-19.
Abayomi explained that a 14-year-old SS1 female student fell ill on the 3rd of October and was sent home after receiving first aid at the school. He added that the student subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday 6th of October in one of the accredited private labs in Lagos.
The Commissioner assured Lagosians that the State government, through the incident commands system, has the situation under control, stressing that appropriate steps have been taken to contain the spread and manage the positive cases.
He noted that all parents have been contacted and counselled via a family zoom call on 13th October to further allay their fears and communication between school authorities and parents continues.
“There are a total lockdown and movement restriction in the school with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Pillar of the EOC and Ibeju-Lekki LGA State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) reporting at the school daily to conduct a further investigation while positive students and staff have been isolated on the premises and given the COVID-19 home-care treatment packs and are being monitored in isolation within the school premises,” Abayomi said.
The Commissioner stated that the school authorities supported by the State Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education are following the COVID-19 guidelines as set out by the government.
According to him, “students are to be isolated in the School premises and if unwell will be admitted in one of the accredited isolation centres in Lagos. Students are discouraged from going home to avoid infecting members of their families”.
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Ministry of Education to jointly manage this minor but significant outbreak in this boarding school. “I am pleased to announce that all the infected students are predominantly asymptomatic while some have very mild symptoms, no student has required hospitalization,” he said.
“Members of the Emergency Operation Center and our counterparts in the Ministry of Education have been deployed to the school to provide strategic interventions and support to the school. This includes psychosocial support, infection prevention control, medical monitoring, and risk communication experts to further enlighten and educate affected people,” Abayomi noted.
The Commissioner reemphasized the need for citizens to practice the highest standard of personal and environmental hygiene, stressing that use of face mask in public places, proper handwashing and hand hygiene practice, and maintaining physical distance will help prevent the spread of the infection.
“COVID-19 is still very much with us and we must strive to prioritize the safety of all, including students and teachers, by adhering strictly to prevention protocols and guidelines issued by the government to prevent its spread,” Abayomi said.
He urged Lagosians to call the 08000EKOMED or 08000356633 toll-free line if they notice any sign or symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, or loss of taste or smell.