LAGOS — The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, revealed that the state has conducted 16,000 COVID-19 tests so far, he added that the state targeted to conduct 1,000 tests of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
The Commissioner stated this while briefing newsmen on the COVID-19 weekly situation report held in Press Centre, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
Abayomi said the testing cost of a COVID-19 patient range between ₦40,000 to ₦50,000. He added that the test is free for patients and the state government is bearing the cost. He added that efforts are ongoing to get the cost subsidized through insurance and donations from aid partners.
According to Abayomi, “We have so far performed 16,000 COVID-19 tests in Lagos, which is much higher than anywhere else in Nigeria.
“We are planning to test up to about 1,000 people per day very soon in the next month or two we are going to be ramping up our capacity to test.
“For now, the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.
“But as we ramp up our testing we are going to try and use some means of subsidy for the test, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or development partners to help us to subsidize the test.
“For now the state government is providing COVID-19 testing free of charge and all citizens who need to be tested for COVID-19 either because they are not feeling well or had a close contact can get it done free of charge at any of our COVID-19 testing sites on the four laboratories,”
He said as a result of the global shortage of reagents used in testing, Lagos Government has contacted local scientists for alternatives. He added that two of the reagents have locally been produced. He said this has eased the pressure of chasing overseas manufacturers of reagents.
According to Abayomi, the state government is about to roll out Hydroxychloroquine, and “with the solidarity trial the state is participating in, two months from now we (Lagos) should get information on the drug either as preventive or cure.”
He stated that the state government has listed some centers where the hydroxy Chloroquine trials would be conducted. This is done with consideration from various dietary supplements that can boost or improve the immune system to resist the virus.
He noted that the spike in the confirmed cases in the state as a result of the increase in the state testing capacity of COVID-19.
“The state government has decentralized sample collection centers with about 20 sample collection sites across the metropolis,”
The commissioner urges residents to be available for tests. He warned against the stigmatization of patients with COVID-19
In curtailing the spread of the virus, Abayomi called on citizens to always use standard face masks in the public and urged residents with the symptoms to quickly present themselves for treatment.
The Commissioner attributed most of the recorded death cases to the late report of patients. He noted that though Lagos and Kano have the same demography, Lagos is recording more cases because it is conducting more tests than Kano.
He said, “While Lagos has four testing laboratories running for almost three months now and doing three shifts, Kano has just one laboratory which is yet to properly kick-off because of some initial teething problems.”