A Traveler from Italy, A Beach Party and the Tie Binding Liberia’s 3rd COVID-19 Case

0
THIRD CASE CONFIRMED: As authorities commence tracing all those who came in contact with Lenda Russ, FrontPageAfrica has learned that some of the attendees at a beach party, Russ attended on March 8, have already left Monrovia and returned to the US. Meanwhile, whispers and murmurs in the corridors of JFK Saturday appear to be hoping for a shutdown and quarantine of the facility – or at least the areas and people Russ and her son came in contact with.

Monrovia – Lenda Russ, 63, Director of Finance and Administration at the Millennium Challenge Corporation had been ailing for a little over a month now. Her employers, an innovative and independent U.S. foreign assistance agency, helping to lead the fight against global poverty including Liberia, had given her time off work to deal with her illness.

Aspen, the insurance and health carrier for the MCC in Liberia had reportedly treated Russ for both asthma and pneumonia in recent weeks.  She even paid a visit to Laboratory Clinic, reporting that she wasn’t feeling well. Despite treatment at Aspen, Russ was still not feeling well.

FPA learned Aspen informed Russ that her cough was too severe and reportedly referred her to the state-run John F. Kennedy Hospital.

When the coughing failed to ease, authorities at JFK called in the COVID-19 team to test on Thursday, March 19. A day later, on Friday, March 20, the results came back positive.

Late Friday, the government through its spokesman, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe confirmed that Russ, had become the third person to test positive with the COVID-19.

Last week, Mr. Nathaniel Blama, head of the Environmental Protection Agency and his domestic worker, Johnny Phillps became the first two to test positive.

The son, according to the medical notes, explained that his mother got ill about three days ago with fever, cough, and malaise and decided to come for testing. “The patient does not know if the returnee from Italy is ill with symptoms now. She does not know if other people who attended the party is ill,” a hospital employee with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity said Saturday.

The government said Saturday that Russ, was immediately taken to the 14 Military Hospital to be treated and that her contacts are being traced.

In the wake of this development, the government said, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah will convene an emergency meeting of the Incident Management Team (IMT) on Saturday, March 21, to review existing health protocols and possibly announce new measures.

Beach Party Possible Source of Infection

While the government has not said how Russ became infected, medical notes viewed by FrontPageAfrica indicates that Russ’s son told doctors that his mom had attended a reunion beach party with old classmates on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

Russ, contrary to what has been reported, did not travel to Italy – and has not been in close contact with Blama.

The beach party, FPA has learnt took place in the Marshall area.

It was there, her son reportedly told doctors that one of his mother’s former classmate, Lorraine Mason, who had recently returned from Italy, was also in attendance and interacted with his mom.

The son, according to the medical notes, explained that his mother got ill about three days ago with fever, cough, and malaise and decided to come for testing. “The patient does not know if the returnee from Italy is ill with symptoms now. She does not know if other people who attended the party is ill,” a hospital employee with knowledge of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity said Saturday.

Russ’s son told doctors that his mom experienced high-grade fever after partying with the returnee from Italy.

According to the medical notes, Russ was seen roaming the hospital trying to find help and in the process; interacted with medical workers in the OPD, the medical ER and the Trauma corridors.

Traveler From Italy Complained About Quarantine Condition

Ironically, Mason, who arrived from Italy on February 28, was quarantined at the Kailondo hotel on the Old Road.

After spending only an hour, Mason began to complain about the dilapidated condition of the hotel and made a video showing the lack of running water and poor toilet facility.

On the recording obtained by FrontPageAfrica, Mason, whose face is not shown explains:

“I arrived in Monrovia today and was quarantined at the airport because my flight originated from Italy even though I had spent five days in Nairobi. I got into Nairobi last Friday(February 21, 2020) and I was screened. I passed the screening, I did a few medical things in Nairobi while I was there and was screened again. So, a total of three times while I was in Nairobi – in and out of their medical center.

So, I arrived in Monrovia, passed the screening. When I submitted my passport and they saw that I was from Italy, they seized my passport, they still have it, they haven’t given it to me. They told me I was coming to town for a second screening by a doctor. Instead, I was quarantined and I was told that I would be quarantined for a week. I was Ok with that until I saw the facility where they brought me to.

I was very complimentary of them and told them that they were doing a great job screening people and making sure that they didn’t get into the population, precautionary measures and all of that until they brought me here.

This place is disgusting. You don’t quarantine people in a place where there is no running water, the toilet is dirty, it’s not fit for humans to eat. There is no running water at all and they tell me in the morning at six-o-clock they will come and take my temperature and I supposed to give them this bucket and the supposed to give me water.

One of the rules of the Coronavirus is that you should wash your hands at all times. But how am I going to do that without running water? There is no water to flush the toilet, the toilet bowl is dirty. I’ve called and complained to the highest person in the health field and nothing has happened. This is where they put me in. I’m livid.”

Even more puzzling, is no one knows for sure whether Mason was tested for the Coronavirus upon her arrival in Liberia. FrontPageAfrica has been informed that like Blama, only temperature checks were performed.

FrontPageAfrica would later learn that Mason, after launching a complaint to authorities was removed from the Kailondo Hotel and placed on self-quarantine.

While it is not clear how much time Mason was given to quarantine, the World Health Organization(WHO) puts the “incubation period” meaning the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease, from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. But some medical experts say, that period could be longer, depending on the body’s resistance to the illness.

Italy, where Mason came from has now surpassed China with the highest death total from the virus. The number of deaths in Italy, now stands at 3,405, which is more than in China where the virus originated last year. There have been 3,245 reported deaths in China, but there have been questions over the reliability of its data.

Ahead of Saturday’s briefing by the Minister of Health, questions continue to linger over how Russ became infected. But more importantly, who monitored the incubation of Mason and who granted her approval to mingle freely at parties and other gatherings.

Even more puzzling, is no one knows for sure whether Mason was tested for the Coronavirus upon her arrival in Liberia. FrontPageAfrica has been informed that like Blama, only temperature checks were performed.

At the JFK hospital Friday evening, many of the doctors and nurses on duty were on edge, quietly expressing concerns that warnings about the importance of self-safety were being unheeded.

Under the WHO guidelines for care patients during situations of an outbreak of such nature, healthcare providers are advised to provide care only when they feel that their safety is guaranteed.

As authorities commence tracing all those who came in contact with Russ, FrontPageAfrica has learned that some of the attendees at the party, who had come from the US from the beach party, have already left Monrovia.

Meanwhile, whispers and murmurs in the corridors of JFK Saturday appear to be hoping for a shutdown and quarantine of the facility – or at least the areas and people Russ and her son came in contact with.

Comments
Loading...