— As COVID-19 cases reach 59, still more deaths than recoveries
Amidst the 21 days State of Emergency declared by President George M. Weah to help in the fight against the Coronavirus, health authority announced additional eight new cases on Monday, April 13. This brings the total cases to 59, including 6 deaths and four recovered, health officials have said.
Dr. Mosoka Fallah, executive director of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), made the disclosure Monday April 13, 2020 at the regular Coronavirus update held in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in oldest Congo Town.
Dr. Fallah said on Saturday, April 11, the country had 11 cases in total, while authorities continue to conduct testing to find or identify those who have the virus.
President George Weah on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 declared a State of Emergency, calling on Liberians, except essential workers and security personnel, to stay home as part of strategies to curtail the spread of the virus.
“Most of these cases were high-risk contacts that were taken to precautionary observation centers and they were tested positive. Again, we want to encourage testing and commend the Liberian people, as some of those tested positive requested for testing and the results show positive,” Dr. Fallah said.
He said 33.3 percent of all the cases the authorities are getting are people who go through testing, which is a good news for Liberia. Dr. Fallah said of all the cases admitted in treatment units, over 36 of them continue to respond positively to the treatment.
According to him, those who go for early testing and are confirmed positive, undergo treatment and as a result, increase their survivability. He further indicated that health authorities are also testing dead bodies to be sure of all of the cases.
“We are trying to encourage people to do testing. The testing is free, as you don’t need to be sick before going for testing. You can visit the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex and will be tested. We are very flexible in our testing,” Dr. Fallah said.
“We tested 49 [people] yesterday alone and people keep coming for testing. We want to work with you and ensure that we protect you and the general public. We want to avoid stigma,” Dr. Fallah said.
Dr. Fallah said Liberia now has six testing teams, including the one at the SKD in Paynesville.
Commenting on the lockdown, Dr. Fallah said the lockdown has two purposes, which include taking the virus from the streets to the homes and secondly, for health workers to go around and search for affected family and isolate them in a dignified manner so they can be treated and also be managed.
“For your own safety and for safety of your family. The more you interact with people, the more you are at risk. For the sake of you and your family, it’s best to stay home,” Dr. Fallah said.
He said health authorities will also be engaging communities and working with them and he further encouraged people to stay in their communities and home. He said they will also do house-to-house search but more information will be provided to the public.
Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, said they are working with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to give incentives to enable health workers to buy food during this crisis.
“If health workers do not go to the hospital, people who are sick will not go there as well, which is not good for us as country,” Dr. Jallah said.
According to her, the two persons who went missing have been found, including the lady from West Point and another lady from Old Road.
Dr. Jallah said if Liberians and foreign nationals stay home for the 14 days and subsequently for the 21 days, the virus will leave the country and everyone will be saved.
“We don’t want to hear about health workers treating sick people at home, because we don’t know if the person you are treating has the virus. This is how people get infected and the virus spreads,” Dr. Jallah emphasized.
She called on health workers and the police to work together for the betterment of Liberia and the citizenry.