GBARNGA, Bong – Bong has recorded a second COVID-19 death, barely four days after the first person died of the virus in the county.
The second COVID-19 case, according to Bong’s county health officer, Adolphus Yeiah, is a 65-year-old man from the Phebe Airstrip Community in Suakoko District. He died Sunday at the hospital while his specimen was collected for testing.
Dr. Yeiah said the man had gone to the hospital and was showing signs and symptoms of the disease.
“We need to wake up to the fact that Coronavirus is here. We just got a second positive sample. The unfortunate thing about it is that this person, again, died before we [could] even know that he had the condition,” Yeiah said.
This new case has no known connections to the first case, as they are from separate locations, he added.
Yeiah spoke on Monday during a Radio Gbarnga Coronavirus awareness program.
He wants residents of Bong to continue to follow the prescribed preventive measures to prevent themselves from contracting the disease.
As of June 7, Liberia has 370 total confirmed cases of the disease, with 30 deaths and 195 recoveries, according to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
The Bong County Health Team is currently working to reactivate an isolation center used during the Ebola outbreak at Phebe Hospital. The local health team is also finalizing arrangements with the Health Ministry and the National Public Health Institute to establish a COVID-19 testing center in Bong.
“We have moved two beds there to start with,” Yeiah announced on the radio program. “We don’t have much, but the little we have, we will start with it. If we have any case that we suspect or we confirm, we will be keeping them there and treating them.”
The county health officer revealed that a rigorous contact tracing is being done at the moment in the county to ensure that all those who may have interacted with the two deceased people are observed, tested, and treated if they show signs and symptoms of the disease.
He said 14 contacts have now been established for the first confirmed case, and testing kits are now available in the county to begin collecting specimens from the contacts for testing.
With two confirmed cases of the Coronavirus found in Bong in less than a week, many Bong residents wonder if the county is prepared to prevent a further spread of the disease. Some are also keen to know of the central government’s support to Bong in the wake of the virus.
Samuel Elliot, the head of the Bong Motorcycle Union, phoned-in during the radio program featuring Yeiah to ask about the government’s financial contribution to the Bong County Health Team in the COVID-19 fight.
Responding to Elliot’s question, Dr. Yeiah said the government has so far made available US$3,700 for preparedness since the outbreak of the virus in the country in the middle of March.
Featured photo by Moses Bailey