Bong’s County Health Officer Announces First COVID-19 Case

SUAKOKO, Bong – A 52-year-old man who died in the Sugar Hill Community in Gbarnga in the early morning of June 3 has become Bong’s first confirmed case of the Coronavirus.

Bong’s county health officer, Adolphus Yieah, made the pronouncement in a press conference on Thursday at Phebe Hospital following an emergency meeting with members of the county’s Incident Management System.

The man had interacted with family members and friends during his illness before his demise at his home, according to Dr. Yieah.

The specimen that tested positive was collected from the man’s corpse and sent to the National Reference Lab in Margibi for testing.

“As we speak, let me just say that Bong County has recorded her first case of the new Coronavirus. We took the specimen yesterday, the 3rd of June of a 52-year-old male patient that called us on the night of June 2, and the result came back positive,” Dr. Yieah said.

He said the man had earlier traveled to Monrovia in May and returned to Gbarnga before he got sick and died.

An emergency meeting with members of the county’s Incident Management System shortly before the COVID-19 case was announced. Photo: Moses Bailey

Prior to this case, Bong was the only county in central and northwestern Liberia without a confirmed case of COVID-19.

All of Bong’s neighboring counties, including Nimba, Lofa, Gbarpolu, Margibi, and Grand Bassa had reported cases of the virus, with some recording deaths too. Moreover, Gbarpolu currently has seven cases with two deaths, Grand Bassa has six cases with no deaths, and Lofa has recorded three cases with two deaths. Margibi accounts for 25 cases with one death, while Nimba has seven cases with four deaths.

Cumulatively, Liberia has 321 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 28 deaths and 175 recoveries.

Eight contacts of the case in Bong, especially family members, have been “generated and followed” by the Bong County Health Team, Yieah noted.

He revealed that the county health team, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, and the Ministry of Health are working to establish an isolation unit at Phebe Hospital.

He wants the collective efforts of citizens and partners to help the county health team respond effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak in the county.

Featured photo by Moses Bailey

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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