Fear has gripped hospital workers in Ebonyi State following an internal memo within the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, alerting workers of an outbreak of a new variant of COVID-19 in the State.
The internal memo dated August 22, 2023, emanated from the office of the head of clinical services and was addressed to the hospital community.
It was titled: ‘FYI: COVID IS ON THE PROWL AGAIN, CAUTION, PLEASE’, and signed by Dr. Yakubu E.N, Head of Clinical Services.
It reads, “With the new variant, BA.4 and BA.5 COVID delta, there is no cough, no fever. It’s a lot of joint pain, headache, neck and upper back pain, general weakness, loss of appetite and pneumonia. Sore throat that resembles strep throat, and of course, is more virulent and with a higher mortality rate. It takes less time to go to extremes. Sometimes without symptoms. Be more careful.
“This strain does not live in the nasopharyngeal region. Now it directly affects the lungs, which means that the ‘windows’ periods of time are shorter. There have been several patients without fever, without pain, but who report mild chest pneumonia on their X-rays. Nasal swab tests are very often negative for COVID-19, and there are more and more false negative results from nasopharyngeal tests.
“This means that the virus spreads and spreads directly to the lungs, causing acute respiratory stress caused by viral pneumonia. This explains why it has become sharp, more virulent and deadly. Please, be extremely careful.
“Avoid crowded places, keep 1.5 distance even in open places, double face masks and wash your hands often (and when you cough or sneeze). Please no hugs, it is very dangerous at the moment, as almost everyone is asymptomatic. This “wave” is much more deadly than the first, so we have to be VERY careful and take every kind of precaution.
“Do not keep this information to yourself; share it as much as you can, especially with your friends.”
DAILY POST gathered that the memo has created panic within the hospital community and the entire State.
But a senior health official, who spoke to DAILY POST under anonymity expressed doubt over the authenticity of the claims by Yakubu.
“That memo has created unnecessary panic in the State. If there is an outbreak of COVID, Dr Yakubu shouldn’t be the one to announce it; the Ministry of Health is the right authority.
“We don’t know where he got the information from, but I’m not aware of an outbreak of COVID-19 or any of its strains in Ebonyi State,” she stated.
As of the time of filing this report, the Ebonyi State Ministry of Health has yet to react to the memo.