Distinguished gentlemen,

You are aware of the COVID -19 pandemic in the world with over 2.3 million confirmed cases globally. The number for Nigeria has also continued to rise in the last few weeks with a total of 782 confirmed cases as at yesterday. The first two cases that were diagnosed in the State has been discharged home and have reunited with their families.
 Yet we have continued to follow up travelers and persons of person of Interest as well as several alerts and rumors reaching the 
State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre. In line with our targeted case search, one of the 5 results received yesterday night for Rivers state was positive for COVID-19.

A 61-year old Hotel Manager who had attended to his boss, the owner of Mingi Suites who returned from Abuja in February, 2020. The rapid response team was notified of the sudden and mysterious death of the owner of the hotel last week and decided to place all his contacts under watch. Once the testing guidelines were expanded, samples were collected from the hotel manager for COVID testing and his result is the positive sample for COVID-19 in the State. 

He is currently being evacuated to the treatment center for further management and all his contacts and timelines will be adequately followed up including necessary environmental decontamination as the case may be. 

Contact tracing has commenced and samples will becollected form his high risk contacts for RT-PCR analysis while risk communication and community engagement will continue unabated as usual. Be rest assured, no stone will be left unturned.

As I mentioned earlier, the State Public Emergency Operations Centre is and will remain on REPONSE mode with dedicated and experienced health officers and volunteers doing their best to conquer this pandemic in our setting. 

The treatment center is active and staffed for efficiency of service delivery in the containment effort. We will continue to monitor them and give you updates as events unfold. 

Let me use the opportunity to thank the His Excellency, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS-Africa, Governor of Rivers State, for his exemplary commitment to the health sector in this pandemic. 

There is need to re-emphasize that public vigilance is important while asking that patients should confide in their physicians the true case history of their ill health. Furthermore, with the expansion of the country testing strategy, the State has commenced active health facility case search for any case of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) in our hospitals in order to have a sentinel insight into the importation of COVID. 

Let me reiterate that we still believe in the opportunities and the gains of prevention and early detection while building our capacity to manage COVID-19 seamlessly. 

To this end we join the rest of the global community to advise as follows:

1. Regular and thorough hand washing with soap and water; the use of alcohol-based hand 

sanitizer is also recommended.
2. Social distancing is key. Maintain at least 1 & half meters (5 feet) distance between 
yourself and anyone. Avoid crowds and follow the stay-at-home advisory.

3. Endeavour to practice good respiratory hygiene: when sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve at the flexed elbow or with a tissue. Then dispose-off the used tissue safely, immediately.

4. Exposed persons should stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing and notify relevant authorities immediately. 

5. DO NOT SPREAD FAKE NEWS. Citizens are advised not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that can cause panic and lead to danger. 

All health facilities should ensure strict and appropriate IPC at all triage points. The Rivers PHEOCwill continue to provide updates and guidance while implementing all necessary measures to ensure public health safety. Therefore, no cause for alarm as the State Government is taking care 
of the situation. 

For further information or enquiry, please call

 Prof. Princewill Chike
Hon. Commissioner for Health, Rivers