OOUTH shuts lab as 14 more workers test positive

Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) Sagamu has shut its main medical laboratory unit after 14 more workers tested positive for coronavirus.

A wave of mass infections hit the teaching hospital with 20 staff testing positive as at last Friday.

One of them was said to have infected three members of his family, prompting the management to shut the Laboratory unit.

However, The Nation gathered 14 out of 16 staff in the laboratory tested positive, which a source described as second wave of mass infection at the health facility.

This brings the total number of infected staff to 34, including a family of four; the wife of one of the lab workers and his three children.

Commissioner for Health Dr Tomi Coker confirmed the laboratory has been shut for two weeks but declared the statistics of affected laboratory workers remained a private affair.

A laboratory staff, who craved anonymity, on Wednesday, told journalists workers in the facility had been going for COVID-19 test since last Friday, following the death of a staff while some were already ill and manifesting symptoms associated with COVID-19.

The Nation learnt as at Tuesday, 20 out of about 70 staff in the laboratory had tested positive.

The source blamed the incident on insensitivity of the management of the teaching hospital to the plights of dealing with COVID-19 patients

He explained though, the confirmation for COVID-19 test is done at the molecular laboratory, other base line routine test of confirmed cases such as sputum, blood and urine test are done in the main laboratory.

The health workers said it was not biologically safe.

He said: “the OOUTH management under Dr Peter Adefuye should be blamed for whatever happened to the laboratory staff because of their refusal to provide us with sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that we needed to have as health workers having direct dealing with the samples of Covid-19 patients

“When they started bringing the samples of Covid-19 patients to us last month, the Director of Medical Laboratory Services Department wrote the management demanding for those things to be put in place so that in the course of caring for others, we will also not be jeopardising our lives but the management did nothing, they are always quick to say there is no money, yet we know that we are generating money for the government.

“The hospital was equally told to get a separate laboratory for test Covid-19 patients just as it was done during the time of Ebola but this they also turned down.

“Were it not for the ongoing strike of Resident Doctors of the hospital which has largely reduced considerably the number of patients that come to the hospital and make use of the main Lab facilities, the numbers of infected person would have been extremely high.”

But the Commissioner for health debunked allegation of insufficient provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the health workers, saying the government had provided enough and would still do more as the occasion demands.

When asked to confirm if 14 additional lab workers had tested positive, Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Dr Peter Adefuye, said a statement had been issued on Wednesday, stating only eight persons were infected.

The CMD equally pointed out that the state government has been committed to the fight against COVID-19 by making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and all necessary things available to the hospital without leaving any stone unturned.

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