Amid the third wave of COVID-19, no fewer than 275 prospective members of the National Youth Service Corps have tested positive for the virus in 12 states, findings by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.
The PUNCH had reported that 103 prospective corps members tested positive for COVID-19 in Ogun (35), and Gombe (25), Plateau (22), and Taraba (21) in the past few days.
Further investigations by our correspondents showed that a total of 172 prospective NYSC members also tested positive for the virus in eight other states, namely Osun (38), Cross River (33), Akwa Ibom (31), Edo (17), Ekiti (17), Bauchi (16), Sokoto (14), and Delta (six).
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Akwa Ibom State
In Akwa Ibom State, the Commissioner for Health, Prof Augustine Umoh, on Friday, confirmed to one of our correspondents that 31 prospective NYSC members had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.
“There are 31 of them who have tested positive,” he said without giving the details.
Cross River State
Also, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, disclosed that 33 prospective corps members in the states had tested positive for the virus.
Edu said, “All the corps members were tested. In the first batch, we had 18; along with the second batch, we have a total of 33 cases.”
According to her, the corps members have been taken to an isolation centre in Obubra, where the NYSC camp is located.
The Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ali Inname, also confirmed to Saturday PUNCH that 14 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded among the prospective corps members posted to the state.
Similarly, the Coordinator, Ekiti State COVID-19 Response Task Force, Prof Mobolaji Aluko, disclosed that 17 corps members in the state had tested positive for the virus in the state, saying, “The corps members, numbering about 2,000, were tested before access into the camp.”
In Bauchi State, no fewer than 16 out of the 1,750 corps members deployed to the state tested positive for COVID-19.
The Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, who disclosed this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said those who tested positive had been isolated and treated at the state permanent orientation camp.
In Edo State, 17 prospective corps members tested positive for the virus.
The state COVID-19 Incidence Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, however, said the corps members had been discharged and cleared to rejoin the camp.
He said, “Seventeen prospective corps members were identified to have symptoms of the COVID-19 earlier this week. They were quickly isolated and taken into the intensive care unit at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital. As of Friday, they have all recovered.
“We cannot say categorically that there are Delta variants in the state because samples must be tested and subjected to sequencing before one can identify the variant. It’s only two laboratories—NAIMA and the one at the Redeemer’s University in Osun State—that can do sequencing. My take is that it would be good to set up sequencing centres at every geopolitical zone.”
The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr Nordic Onoye, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said six prospective NYSC members tested positive for the virus.
In Osun State, about 38 prospective NYSC members and some officials tested positive for the virus.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Siji Olamiju, said the 38 cases were recorded in August, adding that all the COVID-19 patients were responding to treatment at the isolation bay set up by the government at the NYSC orientation camp in Ede.
He said, “We discovered almost 38 cases this month and managing them; they have been responding well.”
In Enugu State, officials did not give the number of prospective NYSC members who tested positive for the virus. Though some corps members were said to have tested positive for COVID-19, they were deemed “not a medical threat.”
In Kwara State, none of the 2,719 prospective corps members had tested positive, according to an official of the NYSC.
The Public Relations Officer of the NYSC in the state, Oladipo Morakinyo, stated that 2,719 corps members had been deployed to the state, adding that none of them was positive for COVID-19.
“We don’t have any COVID-19 patient in Kwara State,” Morakinyo said.
The Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea, noted that there were over five isolation centres in the state, which he said were large enough for any upsurge.
Also, the Public Relations Officer of the NYSC, Benue State, Mrs Victoria Ogwuche, said prospective corps members were tested before being admitted to the camp.
She was, however, silent on whether there were positive cases.