Kirinyaga County sets up isolation ward, trains personnel on coronavirus

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The Uasin Gishu County Governor, Jackson Mandago addresses the press during a joint media briefing by the county COVID-19 response team at the County Headquarters on Tuesday March 17, 2020. Photo by KNA.
The Makueni County Commissioner, Maalim Muhammed, the Makueni Governor, Kivutha Kibwana (left) during the press briefing on coronavirus at his office on Monday March 16, 2020 flanked by the Makueni Speaker, Douglas Mbilu and the County Health Executive, Dr. Andrew Mulwa (far right). Photo by KNA.

Kirinyaga County government has put in place measures to cater for possible cases of Coronavirus in the county.

The  Kirinyaga County Governor, Anne  Waiguru consequently assured the residents that County Government is fully prepared to address any eventualities that may arise due to the infection.

Waiguru  said that although no case has been reported in the county, an Epidemic Preparedness and Response Team has been formed and will be in charge of the remedial measures from  Tuesday.

“The county has also identified and trained a medical team on handling and treating of coronavirus cases,” she said.

The governor said the team comprises of 4 medical doctors, 4 clinical officers, 7 nurses, 2 laboratory technologists and 2 pharmaceutical doctors.

She  said the team is already carrying the on-job training to other medical practitioners across the county.

“Two of our lab officers will be undertaking corona screening and testing training at KEMRI in the course of the week,” she said.

Waiguru said already an isolation ward at the Kerugoya hospital is in place, equipped with 14-beds where patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus can be admitted as they undergo treatment.

“We have also procured the required protective gear for the medical practitioners and are set to receive additional gear from the national government,” she said.

The governor said that an advocacy and health promotion committee has also been formed and is already going around the villages educating the community about coronavirus.

To reduce undue fear and despondency among the county residents, Governor Waiguru said, the county has developed a risk communication strategy that will support raising of awareness among key stakeholders such as institutions managers, community leaders, media practitioners and politicians.

Corona screening desks have also been established at all the health facilities and outpatient caregivers trained on identification and handling of suspected corona patients which includes prioritized attention to patients meeting standard corona case definition.

The governor said that the county is working with the National Government and other stakeholders including private health providers in implementation of coronavirus management activities.

To encourage members of public to sanitize their hands the county is in the process of installing washing points in key public areas such as offices and markets.

In  line with the Presidential directive and to prevent infection in high populated offices, Waiguru said that the county government will be releasing some of its staff whose physical presence in the office is not critical to be working from home.

However, she said, this will be coordinated in a manner that does not affect ongoing programs and service delivery to the residents.

The governor encouraged other institutions such banks, supermarkets and restaurants to install sanitizers and sensitize their clients on the need to use them as required.

She  called upon members of the public to be vigilant and report any suspected corona cases to the following hotline numbers 0798595559 for -Referral Center Kerugoya Hospital- Kerugoya Hospital Nursing Officer- 0798595562 and Nursing Officer- Kimbimbi Sub County Hospital- 0780370418.

The governor added that in order to support the implementation of the above measures, she has sworn-in the recently vetted and approved County Executive Committee member for Health and Sanitation- Ms Gladys Njeri Kimingi.

She called upon all residents to take the pandemic with utmost seriousness and protect themselves and others by observing all the recommended hygiene practices to ensure that the virus does not spread.

Meanwhile, the  County Assembly Forum has advised all the 47 county assemblies to suspend sessions for two weeks except for crucial matters following the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing  the  press in Eldoret, the Secretary General for County Assembly Forum, who is also the MCA for Tinderet Ward, Kipkirui Chepkwony said the suspension of the county assembly sittings comes in the wake of additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection from one to three within a week.

He said that the county assemblies are adhering to the directive given by President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 15th 2020 for people to stay away from social gatherings as a preventive measure to reduce chances of infection.

“As the County Assembly Forum, we advise all the county assemblies countrywide to adjourn house sittings from tomorrow 17th March 2020 for two weeks except for the crucial matters. We also encourage county assemblies to allow their staff to work from home and ensure they render their respective responsibilities,” Chepkwony reiterated.

Chepkwony also assured the public that they can still get the services despite the directive through direct calls and teleconferencing. However, he urged the assemblies to observe hygiene by providing materials for prevention like sanitizers, soap and water.

Terry Maiyo, the chair for Women Caucus in Nandi County, urged mothers to take key responsibility of their families especially now that schools have closed and children sent home.

“Mothers should supervise the movement and interaction of their children and take responsibility for protecting their families from infection,” she said.

The  Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker, David Kiplagat  confirmed that the Assembly has adjourned its sittings for two weeks starting Tuesday. So three people cases of Coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Kenya.

At  the same time, three livestock traders  were today arrested for defying a directive by the Makueni County Government to suspend all market days’ activities in the county to combat transmission of the coronavirus.

The County Commissioner (CC), Maalim Mohammed said the traders were arrested at the Kathonzweni market for failing to heed to the government’s directive banning open-air markets.

Maalim said 20 head of cattle and a motorcycle were impounded during the crackdown that was carried out by a multi-agency team that comprised of police, provincial administration and the county government administration.

Speaking to KNA in his office in Wote, the CC issued a stern warning to traders who will disregard the measures issued on Monday by the County Emergency Response Committee to mitigate the spread of the virus that they risk prosecution.

Among the measures issued were indefinite suspension of market days, stoppage of reveling at nightclubs and shutting down miraa and miguka chewing joints.

Others, include limitation of attendance in social events like funerals, weddings, seminars, workshops and religious gatherings.

Maalim  urged residents to adhere to the guidelines issued and exercise self-discipline.

“The reason why market days were banned is to reduce the probability of having crowds of people who have traveled from far and wide to buy and sell their wares. The guidelines issued must be followed to the letter,’’ he warned.

The  CC said the three traders will be charged based on the new guidelines issued by the judiciary following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

“The  traders also face another charge of defying a quarantine directive on animals issued by the county government following an outbreak of lumpy skin and foot and mouth diseases in the county,” said Maalim.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country stands at 4, following a confirmation of a new case today according to a statement by the Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe.

Both the national and county governments have put in place stringent measures to prevent the spread of the virus, with the health CS warning of a possible lock down if Kenyans do not adhere to the measures.


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