More than 200,000 people have so far been screened for Coronavirus in Turkana County.
Currently, there are two people placed under quarantine at Kenya Medical Training College, Lodwar.
Speaking during the handing over of 10,000 facemasks and 300 bottles(250ml) of hand sanitisers donated by UNHCR to the county government, County Executive Committee member for Health Jane Ajele said 203,000 have so far been screened for the virus.
Ajele noted that Kainuk which is the entry point from West Pokot County into Turkana County was among the busiest temperature screening centres together with Lodwar county referral hospital.
However the CEC said the county has not started testing for Covid-19 and has been relying on Kitale and Eldoret for testing.
“We are urging the national government to help us fastrack testing because we have four gene expert machines and a certified laboratory at Lodwar county referral hospital,” she said.
She said there are 54 quarantine centers in the county. In addition to the isolation center at Kanamkemer sub county hospital in Turkana central sub county there three other isolation centres in Turkana west sub county at Kakuma which plays host to thousands of refugees.
One isolation center is at Kalobeyei refugee camp and two others at Kakuma refugee camp.
Ajele at the same time appealed to the national government to support quarantine centres because they require much resources to maintain the patients.
Speaking at the same event Govenor Josphat Nanok said the Lodwar county referral hospital intensive care unit would be ready in the next few days.
“The ICU will have three ICU beds, three HDU beds and three ventilators,” said Nanok.
He added that the county government is in talks with the UNHCR on the possibility of setting up an ICU at Kanamkemer sub county hospital.
While thanking UNHCR for the continued support to the county government in the health sector and specifically in the fight against Covid 19 pandemic, Nanok said the surgical masks would be used by health workers and some of the sanitizers would be shared with police officers.
“The county through its four polytechnics has started making reusable masks that would be sold for an affordable fee of Sh 50,” he said.
Nanok said 900 health personnel have been trained to combat Coronavirus and the others are undergoing training.
There are 1,200 health personnel in the county. They are currently not adequate and the county government has started the process of recruiting more health staff.
There are 74 public health officers according to Ajele who are not enough.
Addressing the press during the handing over ceremony, UNHCR senior operations manager Kahin Ismail said in addition to the masks and hand sanitizers donated on Wednesday, the organization had last week donated an ambulance to the county government to help combat the Coronavirus.
“We have partnered with the ministry of health to set up three isolation wards in Kakuma and Kalobeyei. We have also identified quarantine places in closed schools,” said Ismail.
He added that the UNHCR would comply with the cessation of movement in and out of the refugee camps as directed by the government.
“We have disseminated this information to the refugees to make sure they don’t make unsanctioned travel in and out of Kakuma. Refugees who attempt to get into the camp would be quarantined,” he said.
There are 196,000 refugees in Kakuma.
By Peter Gitonga