By Okunade Adekunle
The Lagos State Government on Thursday said it has spent about N800million in carrying out 16,000 Coronavirus tests in the state so far.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed this while answering reporters’ questions on COVID-19 situation report at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Center, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
He said each COVID-19 test cost between N40,000-N50,000 and 16,000 tests have been carried out so far fully paid for by the government.
“We have so far performed 16,000 COVID-19 tests in Lagos, which is much higher than anywhere else in Nigeria.
“We are planning to test up to about 1,000 people per day very soon in the next month or two we are going to be ramping up our capacity to test.
“For now the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.
“But as we ramp up our testing we are going to try and use some means of subsidy for the test, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or from development partners to help us to subsidize the test.
“For now the state government is providing COVID-19 testing free of charge and all citizens who needs to be tested for covid-19 either because they are not feeling well or had a close contact can get it done free of charge at any of our covid-19 testing sites on the four laboratories,” the Commissioner said.
Abayomi said the state is about to roll out trial on hydroxychloroquine and that with the solidarity trial the state is participating in, two months from now it should get information on the drug either as preventive or cure.
According to him, the government has identified the centres to role out the hydroxychloroquine trials and was considering various dietary supplements that can boost or improve the immune system to resist the virus.
The Commissioner also said Lagos is seeing a rise in its COVID 19 confirmed cases due to the increase in its testing capacity.
He also stated that government is looking at integrating the concept of home-based care of COVID 19, advising Lagosians to present themselves for tests, and guide against stigmatisation of COVID 19 patients.
He urged the people to always wear nose masks in the public, present themselves early for treatment, because most of the death recorded were cases that were brought in late.
Abayomi said though Lagos and Kano have the same demographic, Lagos was recording more cases of Covid-19 because it was doing more testing than Kano.
According to him, while Lagos has four testing laboratories running for almost three months now and doing three shifts, Kano has just one laboratory which is yet to properly kick off because of some initial teething problems.
Moreover, he said, the government had decentralised sample collection centres with about 20 sample collection sites across the state.