The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said on Monday a total of 979 people died from strange illnesses over a five-week period in Kano.
Ehanire, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, said an investigation carried out by the special team sent to the state revealed that 50 to 60 percent of the deaths were associated with COVID-19.
According to him, most of the deceased persons were over 65 years old and more than half of the deaths occurred at home.
Kano State was hit by mass mysterious deaths in April.
The development prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a two-week total lockdown of the state at the time.
The minister said:
“With the observation and recommendations of the three-week assignment, the committee developed strategic incident management and coordination plan to strengthen the capacity of the health workers and improve community engagement in line with our response plan.
“The healthcare workers in Kano and the northern part of our country had become very jittery at the advent of coronavirus disease and had stopped or slowed down attending to other patients which led to complications in the health delivery.
“Many of them have become infected. Over 150 health workers were infected at the time of the arrival of the team.
“After they conducted their training on infection prevention and control, there was no report on the infection recorded among the health workers. This way, their confidence was restored and service was also restored in essential and routine case management and also COVID-19 management.
“With regards to the unexplained deaths which occurred in Kano over a five-week period, the team confirmed that a total of 979 deaths were actually recorded in eight Municipal Local Government Areas in the state and at a time at the rate of 43 deaths per day as measured by counting activities at the graveyard.
“The peak was in the second week of April and by the end of April, the numbers have started to reduced and have finally now settled at eleven deaths per day which were about what it was before.
“The verbal autopsy revealed that about 56 percent of the deaths occurred at home while 38 percent were in the hospital.
“The investigation suggests that 50 percent to 60 percent of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19.”