By Martha Agas
Jos, Aug. 20, 2020 The Plateau government on Thursday called for calm in the state following its ranking among states with highest cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Mr Dan Manjang, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, who made the call in a statement on Thursday, gave an assurance of government’s readiness to tackle the pandemic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Plateau recorded 186 cases on Wednesday as published in the NCDC update, making it the fifth highest in the country with 2,043 cases.
“Government hereby uses this opportunity to call on its citizens to remain calm and strictly adhere to the protocols as these numbers will subside after the samples awaiting test are exhausted and the situation normalises,” Manjang said.
Manjang said the high number of cases recorded was as a result of the increase in community testing for the virus, adding that the state has three testing centres at National Veterinary Research Institute(NVRI), Vom; Plateau Specialist Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital.
“As at today, Aug. 20, 2020, records show that 23, 396 samples have been collected across the state and sent to the laboratory out of which 21,015 results have been received.
“This makes Plateau among the states with highest testing rate in the country.
“In fact, Plateau is one of the few to have tested all its civil servants and continues to test other citizens,” he said.
The commissioner noted that the slow pace of processing samples had resulted in backlogs which, when released, seemed it was for samples for one day.
“For example, as at today, Aug. 20, 2020, there are 2, 301 results pending at the NVRI Vom testing centre alone due to high traffic.
“Whenever such backlogs are released, it accounts for the high figures recorded against the state by the NCDC which might be misconstrued as daily figures,” he said.
Manjang expressed concern that in spite of the increase in awareness of the pandemic, there was still non-adherence to laid down protocols of wearing face masks, social distancing and hand washing by many residents.
He said the state government was spending large resources to provide free medication and other forms of support for those infected, adding that 25 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded.
The commissioner said the deaths represented 1.2 per cent fatality rate, adding that the figure was lower than other states that had recorded over two per cent.
He said that Gov. Simon Lalong was worried by the loss of lives and was determined to ensure that no further casualty was recorded.