The Lagos State Government has set up sampling stations across 20 local government areas in the state to ramp up sample collection for COVID-19 testing.
The Commissioner for Health in the state, Akin Abayomi, at a press briefing on Sunday, said individuals with symptoms that fit the COVID-19 symptoms can access the stations to drop their samples for testing.
The commissioner said these stations cannot carry out tests but are only established to collect samples to help make the identification of active cases in communities faster and more effective.
He stressed that the new arrangement would provide opportunity for people at the local government with symptoms of COVID-19 to present themselves early for testing.
“We have decentralised the locations where you can have yourself submitted for sampling. So what we have done is to move sampling stations to the local government. And if you feel that you have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, you can present yourself to these decentralised sampling stations”.
“They are not testing stations, they are sampling stations and If you meet the criteria for testing, you will be able to receive the counsel of the staff and your sample will be taken”.
“We are not just testing anybody, there is a criteria for testing; you either must have COVID19 symptoms to meet the case definition or be in close contact with somebody that has been confirmed with COVID19. Your samples would be taken and it would then be sent to one of our accredited testing facilities and those facilities will then perform the tests”, the commissioner said.
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Mr Abayomi said the strategy would help the COVID-19 response team get a better idea of what is going on in the communities and also make the diagnosis of COVID-19 early at the local government level.
An early presentation of COVID-19 symptoms by patients will help provide the best opportunity for patients to survive the infection as it will give room for timely and adequate intervention and care, he said.
“It is important members of the public are aware that the sooner we get to know about you and the sooner we can admit you. If you have mild to moderate symptoms under the supervision of our expert, we may be able to prevent you from moving from moderate to severe and prevent you from moving from severe to critical case.
“We implore the communities not to feel the urge to stay at home when you have symptoms of COVID-19 because you are more likely to survive the COVID-19 infection under our supervision,” Mr Abayomi said.
The commissioner urged residents to report early symptoms of COVID-19 infection to the dedicated COVID-19 toll free helpline – 08000CORONA.
Lagos State currently accounts for more than half (376) of Nigeria’s 627 COVID-19 cases.
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