BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – Grand Bassa’s county health officer, Dr. Anthony Tucker, and eight senior health personnel in the county have gone into isolation at the ArcelorMittal concession area in Buchanan.
The eight senior health personnel include the medical director at the Liberian Government Hospital, Abraham Jawara; county surveillance officer Gabriel Cassay; and several others, including World Health Organization staff assigned in the county.
Speaking at a press briefing on May 19 at the Grand Bassa County Health Team office on Robert Street, deputy incident manager Gregory Walker said the nine senior health workers were low risk. They attended a meeting in Buchanan with a World Health Organization staff who visited the county on Saturday, May 16, he added.
“A WHO expatriate from Monrovia visited Buchanan on Saturday, May 16, 2020 and tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, May 17,” Walker noted. “He came to do assessment at ArcelorMittal Liberia’s isolation [center] and he had a meeting with some members of Grand Bassa’s COVID-19 incident management team.”
Walker said the nine health workers would be in isolation for 14 days. Their specimens are expected to be taken for testing shortly.
Dr. Jawara, the Liberian Government Hospital’s head, was being quarantined because he had attended to the wife of the first COVID-19 patient in the county before she tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, Walker said the county health team has been tracing the contacts of confirmed and high risk individuals.
“The wife of the primary contact who generated 24 contacts, some are currently in isolation at [ArcelorMittal],” he noted. “The ongoing risk assessment will determine as to whether or not the 24 contacts should be isolated.”
On May 19, ArcelorMittal locked down its Buchanan concession, with only essential staff allowed to travel to the area for work.
EcoBank’s Buchanan branch and an ERA Supermarket branch near the concession area were initially included among the areas closed off to the public. They were later exempted because they are not directly within the fence of the company. Their inclusion would have been a blow to many Buchanan residents. Many government and private company employees get their salaries through EcoBank, and its closure would have eliminated their access to cash.
Featured photo by Sampson David