The Kogi government says all the contacts of the index cases of COVID-19 in the state announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) tested negative for the disease.
Saka Audu, the state commissioner for health, said though they were tested, the cases are fictitious — raising questions on the authenticity of the patients’ diagnosis.
In a statement on Saturday, Audu said: “One needs not dig deeper to see the handwriting clearly written on the wall at how desperate NCDC is to nail Kogi State with a COVID-19 case and there is no telling how low they are willing to stoop to do so.
“They claim the patient was positive but hasn’t been taken to an Isolation centre. As at this moment he is still in the National Hospital.”
Despite the state government’s denial of the status of COVID-19 in the state, members of the community where the index cases were reported had confirmed the infection has “found its way” to their area.
They said the chief imam of Kabba, one of the index COVID-19 cases, never travelled out of Kogi, suggesting he contracted it from within the state.
The test kits, which the state government said were used to test the contacts, are not as accurate as tests done in molecular laboratories certified for COVID-19 testing, as previously reported by TheCable.
Audu said the doctor who first attended to the index case said he had no “fever, cough or difficulty in breathing … the only complaint was that of general body weakness”.
“The Doctor had no reason to refer the patient to FMC Lokoja except on the insistence of the patient because they felt he was not getting better,” he said, adding: “On reaching FMC on the 24th of May 2020, FMC claimed the patient was referred to them on account of one week history of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing with high suspicion of Covid-19, a claim the referring Doctor has vehemently refuted.”
The commissioner also said the state had attempted to evacuate the patient at the National Hospital in Abuja and test him using a private molecular laboratory and the state’s rapid test kits, but “the patient eventually denied us the opportunity to get it done, siting fear of receiving punishment from the Federal Government (NCDC)”.
“We also wish to categorically state that though NCDC has consistently refused to support Kogi State in her fight against Covid-19, WHO had been part of our team till date,” he said.
“Though NCDC refused to follow their own protocols on visiting the State, WHO staff who travelled out of our State and returned have always obeyed the rule of self isolation for 14 days.
“Despite the fact that we do not accept the fictitious cases, we have gone ahead to do contact tracing to identify all those who came in contact with them, tested them and they all came back negative. They will be retested in the next 14 days post first contact.
“The normal NCDC protocol is to collect samples through the State Ministries of Health where an Epid. form (Epidemiological form) will be filled by the State epidemiologist and a sample number called an epid number attached to accompany the sample to the laboratory for onward testing. In this case, who filled the form? Where is the sample’s Epid. no.? Is it the FCT state epidemologist that filled the form and took samples at the same time? If that is the case then they should have recorded the cases for FCT and not bother us with their ruse.”
He accused the NCDC of “manufacturing fictitious claims and attaching them to states”, wondering “how eager they are to announce confirmed cases”.