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Oyo State Government is currently facing a new challenge of managing Coronavirus spread as the number of positive cases has exceeded available facilities.
A spike within the week occasioned by rising number of staff of a customer centre outsourcing firm, ISON Ltd., has brought the total number of positive cases in the state to 233. Out of the number, iSON alone accounted for 143 persons who tested positive within the last three weeks.
A source close to the government said that with about 50 new cases from the company in the last one week, the facilities for COVID-19 patients have been overstretched.
The government, according to the source, has, therefore, turned to private individuals asking them to donate their facilities to be used as isolation centres.
A source disclosed that no punitive measures were being planned for iSON.
The source said government was not planning punishment because it did not commit any crime. There had been suggestions that iSON would be made to pay for the treatment of all its staff who tested positive in recent times based on the thinking that its case was an example of failure to comply with regulations introduced by the government to contain the spread of the virus.
Currently, the state government has two isolation centres in Ibadan while some others are being set up in other towns in the state.
In Ibadan, the state has a 100-bed centre at Olodo, 10-bed centre at Jericho Hospital while the University College Hospital (UCH) has a six-bed facility. Work has also commenced on converting part of a ward into an isolation centre.
New centres being built include an 18-bed facility in Aawe, a 36-bed facility in Ogbomoso and another in Igbo-Ora.
This came just as the state Governor Seyi Makinde relaxed the existing curfew regime imposed on the state in respect of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic to between 8pm and 5am.
The decision was reached at the COVID-19 Task Force meeting presided over by the governor yesterday.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary Taiwo Adisa said the state has so far recorded 233 COVID-19 positive cases out of which 171 are active.
It stated that a number of creative measures were approved for implementation by the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which coordinates the operations of the thematic segments of the containment drives.
One of such is the approval of a facility in Ibadan for use as observation and isolation centre for a category of patients after thorough reviews.
“The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force headed by His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde has approved that the curfew currently in force in the state runs from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The new directive replaces the initial order which pegs the curfew at between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“Agreement has been struck with the management of a facility in Ibadan to provide bed spaces for a number of positive cases, whose status have been well considered by the experts,” the statement read.
It advised farmers in the state to take advantage of the decision to stop the curfew at 5 a.m. to enhance their farming activities.
According to the statement, the state government is also wrapping up further renovation and face-lifting activities at its Isolation centres located at Agbami, Jericho, Ibadan, Igbo-Ora, Ogbomoso, Saki and Aawe, near Oyo town.
Besides, the statement also indicated that the planned community testing, which could not be kickstarted at the weekend owing to the festivities and public holidays, would commence by the end of the week.
The Task Force stated that training of health workers who will participate in the exercise will commence in the 10 locations after the holidays.