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Increased mortality in patients suspected of having Covid-19: Findings at a treatment center in Delta State

Onome O. Ogueh
Oboratare Ochei
Ezinneamaka A. Erhirhie
Oghenetega Notoma
Nekwu E. Okolugbo


Background: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there was great anxiety amongst healthcare workers because of the high infectivity and significant mortality associated with the disease. Also, patients were anxious about accessing medical facilities for fear of being labeled as suspected cases of COVID-19 infection. Therefore, we decided to determine the outcome of hospital admission among COVID-19 suspected cases.
Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive study of patients suspected of having COVID-19 as defined by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, who were admitted to Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara. The medical history, clinical examination, and test results of these patients were documented in their case notes and charts. Relevant data were extracted from these case notes and charts into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
Results: During the study period 68 patients were admitted to the Treatment Center; 22 (32.3%) of them tested positive for SAR-CoV-2, while the other 46 (67.7%) tested negative. The patients who were SARS-CoV-2 negative had a statistically significant higher case fatality 20/46 (43.5%) than those that were SARS-CoV-2 positive 3/22 (13.6%) (p = 0.012). However, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in age, presence of co-morbidities, the severity of symptoms, intubation, dialysis, and the need for supplemental
oxygen (p > 0.05). The time from admission to death for the negative cases was significantly shorter, compared to the positive cases. They died within an average of a day on admission compared to those that tested positive (5-6days); p-value = 0.009.
Conclusion: This study shows that among patients suspected of having COVID-19, those who tested negative for SAR-CoV-2 had higher mortality than those who tested positive. Future studies should explore if this increased mortality is related to the initial fear and misconceptions about the disease amongst the population in general and health care workers in particular.

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eISSN: 1596-2407