Panic as COVID-19 breaks out in Lagos lab, workers infected

There is panic at the WellMed Healthcare Laboratory in the Ajah area of Lagos State, as several workers at the facility have reportedly tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was gathered that at least five workers had tested positive for the virus.

The laboratory is one of government-accredited facilities for coronavirus test in Lagos.

Sources who confirm the incidents said the management of the lab refused to fumigate the facility, adding that it had continued to expose other staff and the public to the virus.

Our correspondent learnt that there was confusion at the laboratory on Tuesday when the husband of one of the infected workers stormed the lab, accusing the management of nonchalance.

A source said owners of the medical centre on Wednesday asked a worker that tested positive for the virus to come to work.

The source said, “The issue is that most of the staff tested positive and they refused to disinfect the place. I am aware that five people who tested positive this week were asked to stay at home.

“But I discovered that one of those who tested positive was around today (Wednesday). She tested positive yesterday (Tuesday), but was asked to come to work so she could put another nurse through.

“Other workers that want to test, they are telling them it’s not possible, and that if they want to do it, they will pay 50 per cent of the price. The management has not mentioned that they will shut the place even if it is for a week or a few days for fumigation. What they did today (Wednesday) was just to change the working hours.”

Another source told our correspondent that since the outbreak of the infection at the facility, the workers had been suspecting one another.

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The source said, “Presently, many have tested positive and we’re still being mandated to come to work every day. In a matter like this, many people would have been in contact with those that tested positive and if we are not careful, we pray it does not go beyond what we don’t expect.

“This is making people to panic and it’s getting out of hand. Many people are sick; if the management can just fumigate this place for two days, we’ll be fine. We can’t just put our lives at risk for nothing. The whole place has not been fumigated since workers tested positive.

“The management knows what to do, they tested these staff. I just feel that maybe because of the money they generate from the COVID-19 test, they don’t want to shut down. Since workers tested positive, everybody is scared. We are suspecting one another because we don’t know who and who are now infected. I’m feeling sick now and I’m very sure that if I take the test, I might test positive and this can’t continue going on; we have families at home.”

The manager of the facility, Dr Belema Uduje, confirmed that some workers tested positive for the virus.

She, however, said the affected staff had been isolated.

She said, “The ones that were positive were told to isolate so they left work that same day when the result came out and the others that were negative are in the centre. The centre is sterilised every day whether or not we have a positive case or a negative case.

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“We have done the needful; we have sterilised. It was done yesterday (Wednesday). We have a COVID patient who had to go on an emergency test and we have to close that place. We could not take in any other patient into that particular room.

“There are many people who have come and we don’t even know if it was the member of the public that infected our staff; we have seen a lot of COVID cases, most of them don’t have symptoms and we have mandated everybody coming into the facility to wear face masks.”

The state Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, said the government would investigate to see if the lab management was complicit.

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