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Covid-19 patients overwhelm Alupe isolation center

A Coronavirus crisis is looming in Busia County as the only designated health facility gets overwhelmed by the increasing number of positive cases.

Alupe Treatment and Isolation Centre which has abed capacity of 71 is currently full to capacity and can no longer admit more patients even as the number of positive cases in Busia rose to 110 on Thursday.

According to Malaba Port Health Manager Evelyn Walela by Thursday they were still holding 12 truck drivers who had tested positive in Uganda at a building within Malaba One Stop border post as Alupe facility couldn’t take additional patients.

She said: “We are trying to find out a solution for the emergency. At the moment we have nowhere to take them.

“Initially they were 17 in number but we have managed to take five for treatment but the 12 are still stranded here.”

Reacting to the looming crisis Busia County Coordinator for Universal Health Coverage David Mukabi said there is need for concerted efforts from all the health stakeholders at the county and national government level if the war against the Coronavirus pandemic is to be won.

“This crisis requires collective responsibility. Alupe Treatment and Isolation centre is full but we have managed to secure 20 additional beds which are still not adequate.

Mukabi noted that controlling movement of truck drivers would be the best option of dealing with the increasing number of Covid-19 positive cases in the county since all the cases reported so far in Busia are of truck drivers.

With the threat posed by the soaring numbers of Covid-19 positive truck drivers, on Tuesday, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong banned entry into the county of all trucks whose drivers fail to comply with The Ministry of Health guidelines of getting tested at the place of origin 48 hours before departure.

He noted that the Alupe facility is currently overstretched and staff overwhelmed with no equipment to match the rising numbers not anticipated by the county health department.

Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in a press briefing on Thursday disclosed that a similar crisis is looming at the country’s two major isolation facilities at Mbagathi Hospital and Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital as they are almost filling up with COVID-19 patients.

He disclosed that the government is now considering changing tact in combating the pandemic by adopting a home-based approach that could see patients in isolation facilities released to undergo medical care at home in order to decongest designated facilities.

According to the CS most patients across the country are asymptomatic hence they can be managed through home-based or community based isolation facilities.

By Melechezedeck Ejakait

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