River Cess Has Three Additional Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

CESTOS, River Cess – Barely two weeks after River Cess recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case, the county health officer has announced three additional cases.

Joseph Topor told The Bush Chicken in a telephone interview that those tested positive are health workers who voluntarily had their specimen collected at the specimen collection center in Cestos.

Topor said the specimens were sent to the reference lab in Margibi for testing “and the results came back positive three days later.”

According to him, the three are two males and a female, but the female had gone to Monrovia for the Independence Day celebrations before the results arrived.

“We are making all efforts to get the two males who are in the county to the treatment center here in Cestos so they will commence their treatment,” Topor said. “While at the same time, we are in contact with the Montserrado County Health Team to have the lady picked up and taken to the 14th Military Hospital for treatment.”

When asked as to where these new cases will be treated, Topor said a facility that was initially meant to be an isolation center would now be used as a treatment center while arrangements are made to locate another structure for the purpose of isolating contacts.

According to Dr. Topor, up to July 26, 2020, no contacts connected to any of the three new cases have been documented but the contact tracers are working to ensure that those who interacted with them be reached and isolated.

An NGO known as Last Mile Health is renovating this building for use as a treatment center. Photo: Eric Opa Doue.

By July 26, River Cess had confirmed four cases, with one death and no recoveries yet. The county only registered its first case on July 13. A 21-year-old woman had died at the St. Francis Hospital before her specimen was collected and sent for testing.

Concerning the county’s health system is the fact that people now appear to be more reluctant to visit health facilities for basic services. The administrator of the St. Francis Hospital, Kay Sieh Smith, told community radio station Echo Radio that there has been a decline in patients at the hospital since the county’s first confirmed case.

Smith also named other challenges at the hospital, including having only one functional ambulance and one utility vehicle.

“The hospital is challenged as we speak,” Smith said. “If I will start to name the challenges we’re faced with at the hospital, that means this interview will not end.”

Robert D. Tommy, the superintendent of the River Cess District of the United Methodist Church, who serves as chair on the hospital’s board, also told The Bush Chicken of the hospital’s “huge challenge that needs government’s attention if COVID-19 patients must be treated in the county.”

Meanwhile, while the county health officer, Topor, has called on residents of the county to avoid panicking, he stressed that residents of the county should take COVID-19 seriously since the number of confirmed cases is now increasing.

“This is no longer anything to joke with because the virus is now in the county and we all have to take it seriously,” Topor said. “This will be the only way we can make River Cess a COVID-19 free county.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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