Despite the December 31, 2014 “zero new case” deadline, the Liberian Government is reporting 131 new Ebola cases across the country in the last 21 days.
Reading the statistics in her New Year Message on Thursday, January 1, 2015, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said of this figure, there are 96 confirmed cases with laboratory tests; 58 cases in Montserrado County, 20 in Grand Cape Mount County, where there is a resurgence, and 2 cases in Nimba County, where there previously had not been a case for 62 days.
“It means that Ebola is still among us. As a result, until and unless we get to zero, we must maintain the same level of intense attention, caution, and prevention practices that helped to get us where we are today”, President Sirleaf urged.
She urged Liberians to continue to shout loudly through voice and action that Ebola must go, stressing, “Because getting rid of Ebola is everybody’s business!”
The Liberian leader said as the country intensifies efforts to move from treatment to prevention by focusing on the rebuilding and strengthening of healthcare system through training, better compensation for doctors and healthcare workers; through better equipped health facilities and improved road condition and access, all hands should remained on deck.
The President however commended Liberians for making great personal sacrifices in the fight against the Ebola virus disease, saying, “As a result of our sacrifices, the numbers of Ebola cases have declined considerably.”
She noted that the 16 Ebola Treatment Units constructed around the country, including the Monrovia Medical Unit for healthcare workers have only 63patients as of December 28; 42 of which are confirmed cases.
She added that Lofa County, formerly epicenter of the disease, has not reported a case since November 4, and most of Southeast Liberia, including Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru counties have not reported any confirmed cases in many days although ETUs are being brought online to provide care should cases be found in those counties.
The Liberian authorities have called for reopening of schools in February with special instructions to school administrators to put in place appropriate preventive measures, including washing of hands and testing body temperatures of students and teachers on campus.