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As COVID-19 Cases Rise In FCT: Only 2 FG Isolation Centres Ready In Abuja

* Configuration on-going at This Day Dome
* FCTA centres yet to take-off Collaboration key to success – Minister
* ‘Govt should isolate all suspected cases’

Only two of the many isolation centres identified by the federal government in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are fully ready and attending to coronavirus patients, Daily Trust reports.

The two centres are located at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) in Gwagwalada, which has space for 33 patients and the National Hospital, Abuja, which has capacity for five patients only. There are calls for more well-equipped centres to meet the growing demands especially in Abuja which is recording new cases on a daily basis. Some of the places identified by the federal government as potential isolation centres in Abuja in the event of COVID-19 explosion include the DSS Guest House, Women Development Centre, Agura Hotel, This Day Dome and MKO Abiola Stadium among others.

On its part, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) said it will establish an isolation centre at Asokoro General Hospital, and two others in Karu and Zuba in the suburbs of the FCT. Checks, however, revealed that none of the three centres is fully ready to receive COVID-19 patients. Investigations showed that works is on-going in few of the places identified by the federal government for establishing isolation centres while nothing is on ground at other places.

So far, 48 cases have been confirmed in the FCT, and there are fears that until relevant authorities redoubled effort, some of the isolation centres would not be ready anytime soon. The 33-bed centre in Gwagwalada has been fully occupied while some patients have checked in at the National Hospital which has beds for five people. The building at the National Hospital was upgraded since 2014 when the country geared up to deal with the Ebola outbreak.

Daily Trust reports that officials had restricted movement around the unit which has a dedicated lift for patients. One of the officials who gave a description of the facility said each room has an en suite bath and toilet, an air-conditioner, a ventilator and oxygen panel. During a visit by our reporter, the unit was manned by 15 nurses, five doctors and other personnel trained for the purpose. Authorities at the hospital said they had taken in some patients and were prepared to take care of them. “We are prepared and busy now,” Jafaru Momoh, Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital, said. “We actually have some cases now and we are prepared to receive more,” he added.

Why FG mulls many isolation centres The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had last Wednesday said that federal government would continue to expand the isolation centres in the FCT to accommodate more patients. Speaking during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 news briefing, the minister said, “With nearly 1,000 bed spaces identified in the FCT, we would continue to expand the number of isolation centres and Intensive Care (ICU) units across the country for those who may have severe complications from the disease due to being immuno-compromised. “This includes elderly people above the age of 70 or those with critical underlying health conditions such as cancer, tuberculosis and HIV,” he said.

Earlier, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, told Daily Trust that government was working on a 700-bed space for isolation of patients that tested positive for COVID-19 in addition to the isolation centres at the National Hospital and UATH that have less than 40-bed spaces for ICU. He said: “Last weekend, the PTF on COVID-19 team visited This Day Dome. Right now, the floor of that place is being configured to make it a washable floor and mattresses and beds are also being configured there. That place alone can accommodate up to 400 patients.

“Agura Hotel can take over 300; the Women Development Centre will take about 160 patients while the DSS Guest House can take close to 200 persons,” he said. He added that less than 4 per cent of COVID-19 patients needed intensive care at isolation centres and that most cases did not require hospitalisation.