Saturday, June 6, 2020 7:10 pm
“The first day I was rushed to Oghara, I got calls from all over the world; they thought it was malaria, but I had already treated malaria before I was admitted at the Oghara.
…”A lot of people said COVID-19 is malaria because of the symptoms, but as a survivor, I am in a position to tell the story better.
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
As the world continues to battle COVID-19 pandemic, two discharged patients in Delta have affirmed that the virus is real while urging the public to adhere to stated protocols for protection and stemming the spread of the scourge.
The patients, Chief Austin Eruotor, the Index Case in the state and Chief Jerry Azinge, the fourth confirmed case in the state, made the call at a news conference in Asaba.
Chief Eruotor, who expressed immense gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa `for the amazing services and care given to me’, said Deltans and Nigerians should take the issues of personal hygiene and social-distancing serious, because COVID-19 is real.
“A lot of people said COVID-19 is malaria because of the symptoms but as a survivor, I am in a position to tell the story better.
“My name is Chief Austin Eruotor; I am married with seven children and I am based in Canada. I came into Nigeria on Feb. 5, 2020 and became ill.
“I stayed at the isolation centre at Oghara for 36 days and I must thank our amiable governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for what God used him to do in my life.
“When I was at the isolation centre, I fought with the virus to the extent that the virus was moving all over my stomach, up to the chest.
“I must thank the officials at the Oghara Isolation Centre who placed me on oxygen when I was short of breath. I was under the surveillance of the CCTV camera in my room and one of the nurses called Efe, came and put me on oxygen. I was on oxygen for five days until I stabilised,” he said.
Eruotor stated that he came out to sensitise people, who still believed that the virus was a scam, saying “my coming out today is because a lot of people still don’t believe that COVID-19 is real. I am a life testimony.
“The first day I was rushed to Oghara, I got calls from all over the world; they thought it was malaria but I had already treated malaria before I was admitted at the Oghara.
“I must commend the state government for its care and for treating us free of charge. I was well-taken care of with all manner of food at my request.
“I must thank our governor for making me an ambassador in the fight against COVID-19 in the state. I thank him for all his prayers, his love and care and I also thank the COVID-19 team, the doctors and nurses who were very hard-working, for taking good care of me at the isolation centre.
“I will work hard to take this message not just to Deltans but the entire Nigeria, America, Canada, but first of all, charity begins at home and I was at Ugborikoko and Pessu markets in Warri to preach this message and I still have lots of places to go to by the grace of God.”
On his part, Azinge said he was delighted to give an account of his experience at the FMC isolation centre in Asaba.
“Today is a day of thanksgiving and testimonies. God indeed, is the ultimate healer. I thank Him for making me to survive the ordeal.
“I thank God for my life because I also was infected with COVID-19 and I had to be quarantined at the Asaba Federal Medical Centre’s Treatment and Isolation Centre for 18 days.
“I thank the governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, for his proactive steps in curtailing this deadly virus. He has shown immense commitment not only as leader of people in Delta State but as an accomplished medical doctor.
“He has put together a very formidable medical team to handle this pandemic, ably led by the very experienced Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, who has indeed worked tirelessly to make sure that the incidents of COVID-19 infected people in Delta are put at a reasonable minimum.
“I thank them for this and I commend the governor for the health care facility he has put in place, particularly in Asaba where I was treated. I felt very relaxed; I knew it was just a matter of time for the disease to be taken care of.
“The quality of healthcare supplied by the doctors was of international standard and I thank them for this,’’ he said.
Azinge added that in the isolation room, every equipment was “brand new’’ saying “when they gave me a bed, I looked up, the room was air-conditioned and by my left was a flat screen television and by my right was a refrigerator and I said I am not in a hotel.
“I was there for 18 days and every morning the matron of the hospital will call me to ask what I will like to eat for breakfast, and I asked if I was going to pay for it, and she said `no’ that I was at the hospital on the bill of the state government and that anything I feel like eating they will let me have it.
“Lunch and dinner were the same way, and the following day, she came again and I asked myself what’s going on here. I felt like someone on a medical vacation.
“Now the question is, is COVID-19 real? It is real because people who were personally afflicted and infected have come out to say yes, it is real.’’
He explained that different symptoms exhibited by different patients may be responsible for the skepticisms being exhibited in some quarters about the reality of the pandemic.
“There may be reasons for skepticisms; as Chief Eruotor told us, he had problem in breathing at the stomach and all that, but mine was different. I didn’t have any problem with breathing or eating but I was very fatigued and I had difficulty in standing.
“Sleeping was also difficult and all through the night I had fever; so, because of the difference in the presentation of this infection, people now began to doubt if it is real? It is real.
“COVID-19, to the best of my knowledge, is not something that is out of the space, it is of the family of viral infection and viral infections have existed since 1930.
“From my own experience, COVID-19 is in the group of respiratory illnesses such as common cold, influenza, pneumonia; in fact, most times it is with symptoms of malaria, fever and high temperature.
“The good news is that we were once ill, but we are now well, hale and hearty and I will encourage the media to pass down the news to the community that there is no need to be afraid.
“If you come in for treatment early enough, you are sure to go home well and cured, particularly in Delta State where there is comfort provided for the patients – three square meals a day for free, air-conditioned rooms among others,” Azinge said.