The Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, has thrown more light on the death of the hospital’s house officer, Dr Jude Okpareke, saying that his death had no connection with COVID-19 pandemic.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Okpareke allegedly slumped and died in the hospital on Monday, the same day the Abia government announced that two patients on admission at the facility tested positive for coronavirus.
The news of the death, which went viral online, alleged that the deceased died while managing the COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
In a statement made available to NAN, the Medical Director of the facility, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, stated: “It is on a sad note I wish to inform you that we lost a new house officer, who just resumed duty four days prior to his demise.
“While this incident coincided with the diagnosis of two COVID-19 patients in our facility, I wish to state categorically that his death is in no way connected with COVID-19.”
Although he did not disclose the cause of the doctor’s death, he said that he (Okpareke) did not have any role in the management of the COVID-19 cases.
Speaking on the state of the COVID-19 patients in an interview with NAN, the FMC boss said that both patients were alive and doing well.
“The two index cases are at our isolation centre. They are alive and doing well.
“Do not mind the social media. They are the ones that wrote that one of the index cases has died,” he said.
He, therefore, urged members of the public to disregard the online report, describing it as “fake news”.
Onyebuchi said that contact tracing of all those who were involved in the management of the patients had began.
He also said that the hospital had begun the decontamination of the wards and different points where the patients stayed, including the Accident and Emergency Unit, Intensive Care Unit, Male Medical Ward and Ludlow Slessor Complex.
He said that the affected areas had been shut down and that nobody would be allowed to stay in those places within 48 hours after the decontamination.
“Meanwhile, all those who came in direct contact with these cases should start immediate 14-day self isolation and report to the facility if they observe any symptoms,” Onyebuchi said.
He advised the medical personnel not to attend to any patient without wearing a face mask, hand gloves and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Likewise, staff are advised to continue to practice all the recommended public health practices – wearing of face masks, regular hand hygiene, environmental hygiene, social distancing and appropriate use of PPE,” he said.
NAN reports that medical services had returned at the hospital after the tension and anxiety generated by the news of the two confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Doctors and nurses were seen attending to patients on admission in the wards, except the Accident and Emergency Unit, Intensive Care Unity, Male Medical Ward and Ludlow Slessor Complex, which had been decontaminated.
Some patients were also seen being attended to at the Out-Patient Department and National Health Insurance Scheme Unit.