Lagos Plans Home-Based Care For Management Of Asymptomatic COVID-19 Cases
The Lagos State Government has announced that strategies are being put in place strategies for the commencement of home-based management of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases. The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this on Friday at a media briefing on COVID-19 management in Lagos, explained that the State government is working on parameters to integrate home-based care into the isolation strategy for the management of cases, stressing that asymptomatic and mild stages of the infection will now be managed at home rather than at the Isolation Centres. Abayomi noted that home-based care is necessitated by the surge in positive cases within communities due to increased testing capacity, adding that the rising numbers have reduced the available number of bed spaces in isolation facilities and made home care imperative for people with mild symptoms or asymptomatic patients. He stressed that the State government will manage patients with moderate and severe cases at the Isolation Centres to prevent exposing others to the danger of infection. “We are going to define who can be managed at home and who can be managed in an isolation facility. It is a bit of a simple decision. If you are asymptomatic you qualify to be managed at home simply because most people in that category will naturally get well without any medical intervention. After all, if you are not feeling any symptom you may not know you have COVID-19, nothing happens to you and you may clear the virus after seven to 10 days", Abayomi explained. "On the other hand, the people we want to pay more attention to are the moderate to severe ones because they are not suitable for home-based care”, he added. The Commissioner, however, noted that home-based care for asymptomatic and mild patients will be strictly monitored, stressing that an asymptomatic patient can turn mild and a mild patient may turn moderate or even severe which will require management of such cases at an Isolation Facility. He stated that patients receiving home-based care will be provided with a COVID-19 pack with which they can monitor their body temperature, measure their oxygen level and be given certain vitamins and pain reliving drugs to manage themselves. “When we manage you at home we are going to monitor you. We will call you by phone, people will come and visit you and your family members can call us. With our developed EkoTelemed, we can have a consultation with you in your house without us coming. We are going to give you COVID-19 pack where you can measure your temperature, oxygen level, give you certain vitamins and pain killers so that you can have a comfortable time while you are isolating at home”, the Commissioner disclosed. Speaking on the COVID-19 testing capacity of the State, Abayomi said testing capacity is being ramped up, asserting that the State now has the capacity to perform 1,000 tests per day and is working at raising the capacity to 2,000 or 3,000 per day so that everybody that requires testing can get attention. “If you look at our data, we have performed over 22,000 tests in Lagos so far. We are increasing our capacity to carry out more tests every day. Very soon the rate at which we are testing will keep rising and don’t be alarmed because the more we test, the more cases we’ll find", he said. Abayomi said it is illegal to manage COVID-19 patients in private facilities without the knowledge and approval of the State government, insisting that every COVID-19 patient must be known to the government for adequate data capturing. In his words: "If you are managing COVID-19 without government's permission and we are not capturing your cases in our database, you are performing an illegal act according to the laws of Lagos State. So if you want to manage COVID-19 in Lagos State, we are not saying you cannot. All you need to do is to submit an application and we will visit your facility to ensure that you have the required equipment and specialised personnel to manage Coronavirus cases. If you can demonstrate that you can do all these, then we will give you the approval to manage the disease". While maintaining that COVID-19 remains a public crisis that must be managed and supervised by the Lagos State Government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria, Professor Abayomi disclosed that three private hospitals have already been accredited to manage COVID-19 cases, with one already admitting patients and the other two ready to start admission and management of patients. He gave an assurance that the hospitals "have passed the biosecurity compliance test. They have made modifications to their hospitals so that their staff and other patients are not put in danger or exposed to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19."