COVID-19: Amid shortage of kits, Lagos targets 2,000 testing capacity daily

On Saturday, Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu suggested plans by his government to increase the state's testing capacity for COVID-19 from its current capacity from 850 to 1500 and 2000 daily.

He said the target is subject to the availability of extraction kits, considering its acute global scarcity today.

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The governor spoke when he updated the information COVID-19 situation in the state in a live broadcast, Saturday, day 11 of the series.

Sanwo-Olu, who is also the commander of the state's COVID-19 incident, said:

“Let me say, as I said before, that the success of our efforts, in accelerating the tests, is part of the reason why we are seeing a significant increase in the number of cases in the state of Lagos.

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“Clearly, too, we are firmly at the stage of community transmission of the infection, and the only way to be sure that we are making all the right decisions is to ensure that we continue to increase testing.

“We now have four test facilities in the state of Lagos and we remain grateful to the NCDC and all other partners involved.

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“Our combined laboratory capacity is around 850 daily tests. It is easily scalable to 1500 and 2000, subject to the availability of extraction kits, considering the severe global scarcity.

“The state of Lagos paid more than 20,000 extraction kits and placed an order for another 20,000 in its attempt to test at least 120,000 in the next 60 days.

“50% of the order book I spoke about recently has been released, which is also responsible for the recent apparently high rate of positive cases in the past two days.

“Kit suppliers are manufacturers and their local representatives. However, the offer is open to any company with a reputation and integrity who can supply the desired kits according to specification.

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"In this same sense, I also ordered the state laboratory apparatus to start local production of certain items used in the diagnostic process, and this has already started," he said.

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Continuing, the governor said that the State also initiated a biweekly acquisition of the laboratory, necessary to avoid the lack of materials, until at least 120,000 tests are carried out in about two months.

“In addition to increasing test capacity, we are also actively increasing our isolation capacity. You will also see a change in our isolation strategy in the coming weeks, as we transition to decentralization.

“What this means is that we are going to introduce community case management, accrediting and incorporating basic health units and private health units for the management of mild to moderate cases of patients with COVID-19.

“We must be careful to ensure that this is not done at the expense of the capacity needed to handle other medical cases.

“There is also the important task of ensuring that we are collecting all the correct data and using that data to plan and review our response as a state.

Read too: COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu promises to reinstate the total blockade for violating the guidelines

“I am pleased to note that the State of Lagos is developing a digital emergency response platform that will help us collect the data necessary for informed decision-making.

"As long as we continue to pay attention to the stories and experiences shared elsewhere, I would like to ensure that the data we collect and the safety of all of you, the people of Lagos, remain the main determinants of our decision-making," he said.

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