Narok County has set aside private wings in the two referral hospitals in readiness for possible outbreak of Covid-19 in the area.
In a joint press media briefing on Monday, area governor, Samuel Tunai and County Commissioner (CC), Samuel Kimiti said the Narok Referral Hospital wing has 14 beds and Kilgoris Hospital six beds, well equipped to deal with any suspected cases of Coronavirus.
At the same time, Tunai said 130 health workers had received special training on how to deal with any suspected cases and two rapid teams on standby to respond to any emergency.
“A special response team that I will personally chair consisting of health workers and other government officials will be meeting at least twice per week to evaluate the situation in the county,” he said.
And with Narok being a tourism hub, a team of health personnel will be placed in all the entrances to the World famous Maasai Mara to screen and ensure all visitors were free from the disease.
“We have recalled all health officials who were on leave to return to work immediately because we do not want any gaps. This disease is not a joke, it is real and is capable of finishing many people if not prevented,” added Tunai.
The governor also announced closure of all bars and social gatherings in the county, until further notice, saying those who risked opening the premises will be fined heavily.
“People should avoid crowded places like shopping malls, churches, social facilities and bars. Ensure you wash your hands regularly with soap and running water to keep the disease away,” said Tunai.
He said the county had established a hotline number 0700320770 that people are free to call for inquires or report suspected cases.
On his part, the CC said they had agreed that parents will undertake close monitoring of their children while at home to safeguard them from the disease.
“Parents should be warned not to allow their children to move around unguarded. As much as possible children should remain indoors to limit their movements,” Kimiti said.
He called on everyone in the county to cooperate in preventing the disease by following the basics like washing of hands with soap and avoid shaking hands.
“It takes each and every one of us to combat this disease, if we work together as a county, we will be able to fight this disaster,” Kimiti said.
At the same time, the County government of Siaya has recalled all health staff on leave as part of its preparations to combat Coronavirus.
In a statement released after the county executive committee meeting chaired by Governor Cornel Rasanga, the county government further ordered all its department heads to prepare a duty roster where staff will be working on a rotational basis to avoid congestion in their workplaces.
“The county executive committee members, chief officers and directors are encouraged to prepare a schedule of work for officers under them to be working on a rotational basis for the next 14 days as we continue to assess the situation,” said Rasanga.
The governor further cancelled all meetings, seminars, workshops and trainings involving the county government staff and ordered the fumigation of the devolved government offices.
He said that his government will sensitize the business community on the importance of hygiene and the need to provide basic hygiene tenets such as sanitizers to their customers.
“I appeal to all traders and business people to frequently disinfect their premises in order to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.
The governor further said that his government will immediately embark on the refurbishment of a corona virus holding area at the Siaya county referral hospital, and isolation ward at Bondo sub county hospital.
On Saturday, Siaya County Commissioner (CC), Michael Ole Tialal and the County Secretary (CS), Joseph Ogutu announced that Siaya County was prepared to handle any case of Coronavirus, with an isolation facility established at the Bondo sub county hospital.
Tialal at the same time, announced an immediate ban on all discos in the county as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease.
Briefing the media on the preparations by a joint emergency response committee that he co-chairs with the governor, the CC said that apart from the isolation ward, each of the health facilities in the area will establish holding rooms where suspected patients will be detained while awaiting transfer to the isolation ward in Bondo.
The CC who called for calm amongst the residents, however stressed the need for strict adherence to the recommended measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
He called on chiefs and security agents to crackdown on all illegal drinking dens, saying that if not checked, the same can be used to spread the virus.
Tialal further called on the residents to observe public health requirements while conducting funerals.
“All chiefs, their assistants and indeed everyone must take it upon him or herself to ensure that we educate our people on the importance of maintaining hygiene,” he said.
Addressing the occasion, the CS said that the county government had received 50 personal protection equipment from the national government.
The gear, he said, will be used by the health personnel should any case be reported.
Ogutu however, said that the county health personnel were yet to be fully trained on how to handle an outbreak and urged the national government to avail money and trainers.
He announced a toll free number, 0800-721546 that the public can use should they want to report a suspected Coronavirus case.
By Ann Salaton/Philip Onyango