About 60 per cent of the 979 deaths reported in Kano State have been linked to the Coronavirus Disease.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.
Ehanire, in his speech before the questions and answers session with newsmen at the briefing, said the figures were the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Federal Government to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of hundreds of residents in Kano.
He said: “This morning, the Federal Ministry of Health received the report of the Ministerial Task Team that went to Kano, to support the COVID-19 response with commodities, training, technical and confidence-building measures.
“The visit was extended to fact-finding excursions to offer support to five other states. With the observations and recommendations from the three-week assignment, the committee developed a Strategic Incident Action Plan to strengthen the coordination capacity of the health workers and improve community engagement in line with our response plan.
“While over 150 health workers had been infected at the time of their arrival, there was no report of infection among health workers who had received training on infection prevention and control, thus restoring confidence. The intervention of the ministerial task force has been a game-changer for Kano and some northern States.
“With regard to unexplained deaths in Kano which occurred in April, the team confirmed from graveyard records, that a total of 979 deaths were recorded in 8 municipal LGA in the state at a rate of 43 deaths per day, with a peak in the second week of April.
“By the beginning of May, the death rate had reduced to the 11 deaths per day it used to be. The verbal autopsy revealed that about 56% of deaths had occurred at home while 38% were in a hospital. With circumstantial evidence as all to go by, investigation suggests that between 50-60% of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19, in the face of preexisting ailments. Most fatalities were over 65 years of age.
“I thank Dr Gwarzo, Prof Nasidi, members of the team, especially the contingent from Irrua, for diligently carrying out this assignment and achieving their targets.
“It is gratifying to note that they all returned safely and had no incident of contracting the infection. I also commend His Excellency, the Governor of Kano State for his support to the team throughout.”