There were palpable fears among staff members of the Mushin General Hospital, Lagos State, after about eight health officials at the hospital tested positive for coronavirus.
Saturday PUNCH learnt the patients comprise three doctors and five nurses, causing panic among the workers.
An official of the hospital, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, disclosed that a health worker had fallen sick about two weeks ago.
The source said the worker was being treated for malaria when a nurse suspected that they were handling a coronavirus case.
It was gathered that some personnel of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control took the samples of the sick worker and the two officials (the nurse and a doctor) who attended to her.
The results of the patient and the doctor were reportedly positive while that of the nurse was negative.
The source said, “It started with a staff member who fell sick two weeks ago and was being treated for malaria at the hospital. It was one of the nurses who attended the COVID-19 training that suspected the worker had contracted the virus. The NCDC was invited and tests were carried out on her, the nurse and a doctor. I later learnt that the patient and the doctor tested positive.
“I expected that they would shut down the ward where the worker was treated but the management did not do so. Also, there was no formal notification that those people were positive so that everyone will be more careful. We asked the managing director about the results but he said they were not out.”
Another source at the hospital told Saturday PUNCH on Wednesday that the NCDC officials came back to the hospital last week for more testing.
“The NCDC officials came with about 15 testing kits last week. I learnt on Tuesday that two other doctors and four nurses have also tested positive. The management has not said anything. We don’t know the people those that tested positive had come in contact with. We are worried. Something must be done about it. We have been kept in the dark,” the official added.
He also lamented that workers in his department were at high risk as they had been reporting to the office every day.
The Managing Director of the hospital, Dr Olumide Sojinrin, confirmed that “some staff members” tested positive. He, however, debunked the claim that workers were not informed of the development.
Sojinrin, who spoke to our correspondent on Friday, said the management tried to douse tension by disseminating information through heads of department.
The MD also said it was not true that staff members were asked to come to work every day, adding that every department had its timetable to limit the number of officials on duty at a given time.
He said, “We have been having series of meetings with everybody and we have been talking about how to train and retrain our personnel. We have been going round to ask the staff what they know about COVID-19 and if they are aware that some staff members have come down with it.
“We got the NCDC to come in and test staff members. We let our staff know that some of their colleagues are positive while some are negative. The strategy now is to use those who are positive as the ambassadors when they return to work to show that there is nothing to fear.
“People should not be afraid of test. We advise every member of staff to go to their local government and get tested. Coronavirus is not a death sentence. It is our job and we just have to live up to that responsibility. We are also trying to form a group that will reach out to those in isolation to ensure their psychological well-being.”