ArcelorMittal Liberia Records First COVID-19 Case in Yekepa

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A staff member of ArcelorMittal School System in Yekepa, Nimba has tested positive for the Coronavirus, the company has disclosed in a press statement. The staff, who had prior health issues, died in Monrovia.

Although the name of Yekepa’s first COVID-19 patient was not disclosed by the company, ArcelorMittal said the male staff had not been at work since March 2020, when schools closed. He was recently admitted to the company’s Yekepa hospital for other issues not related to COVID-19 and was transferred to another hospital in Monrovia a day later to continue treatment before he died.

“We express our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers for their sad loss,” the company said.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal says contact tracing has begun for others in Yekepa who may have come in contact with the deceased. A few of the company’s staff have already been asked to self-isolate at home.

“Currently, none of the staff or family members are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and the family is in isolation. The relevant county and national health authorities are closely involved, and the County Health Team is overseeing management of the case,” ArcelorMittal disclosed.

The global mining giant said it continues to enforce strict adherence to all COVID-19 preventive measures ordered by the government. It also instituted additional measures for its staff and those accessing its concession areas. It added that a review of the precautions and controls would be carried out immediately to determine if the company needed to implement additional measures to limit any potential spread.

“As a responsible business partner to Liberia and a company that places high importance on the safety and wellbeing of its workforce and the public, we will continue to work closely with our partners and stakeholders throughout this crisis,” the company added.

According to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Nimba has recorded twelve confirmed cases, four deaths, and two recoveries since the outbreak began in March this year. The latest news coming from ArcelorMittal has increased the number of confirmed cases to thirteen and five deaths.

The Bush Chicken contacted Nimba’s county health officer, Dr. Philip Sahr, to explain any strategies being implemented to prevent the further spread of the virus in Yekepa. However, Sahr said he had not yet gotten details on the case and could not comment. He said he would meet with his surveillance team to dispatch it to Yekepa to collect details about the case.

ArcelorMittal had already suspended its activities in Buchanan for two weeks after several persons within the concession area tested positive for the virus.

As a whole, Liberia now has 516 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of June 16, with 33 deaths and 240 recoveries.

Featured photo by Sampson David

Jerry Myers

Jerry T. Myers, Jr. is a student of the Nimba County Community College, studying Natural Resource Management. Since 2008, Jerry has worked in the media sector, including at the Voice of Tappita community radio station, ELBC Radio, Radio Nimba, and New Public Trust Media Group. He is the current secretary-general of the Nimba Community Radio Association and a full member of the Press Union of Liberia.

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