A woman who travelled into the country early this month has been placed on self-quarantine in Nanyuki when she disclosed that she had contact with the first index coronavirus case in Kenya after they flew in the same plane.
The Caucasian woman, who flew into Kenya and headed to Cottage hospital in Nanyuki town to visit a terminally ill relative was placed on self-quarantine on March 13 after she disclosed that she had travelled in the same plane with the first Kenyan to be diagnosed with Covid 19 from US via London.
The Laikipia Health Executive, Dr. Lenai Kamario said that the County government was informed of the case on March 13 by Cottage Hospital adding that the woman had not shown any signs and symptoms of the disease but was advised to self-quarantine for 14 days till March 19 as a precautionary measure.
“I would urge residents of Laikipia to know that the contact is stable and we also assure her of support from Cottage hospital and the County government,” Dr. Kamario said.
He spoke on Monday at Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital (NTRH) while giving the state of the county surveillance and preparedness on the Coronavirus.
He said the county has set aside 53 isolation beds in 11 local public and private health facilities to handle any suspected case of the disease.
The Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe on March 13, announced the first case of Coronavirus of a Kenyan woman who travelled from the U.S to the country via London and was admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit after she tested positive to Covid 19. Kenya has so far three confirmed cases.
Dr. Kamario said five County Health Managers had already been trained on Coronavirus surveillance, preparedness and response and they have in turn, trained 37 health officers in the county and sub-county hospitals.
“Our County Laboratory Technologists and Medical Officers are currently at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi for further training and we expect them back in the county soon to continue the training of all health officers,” the medic said.
The CEC further said that sensitization of residents to maintain high hygiene standards by washing hands with running water and soap as well as avoiding crowded places was ongoing in a bid to stem the spread of the disease that had so far claimed nearly 6,000 people globally.
At the same time, the Elgeyo Marakwet County Governor, Alex Tolgos has ordered the suspension of all weekly open-air markets and livestock auction for the next 30 days in the area to mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus.
In a raft of measures put in place to contain the disease, the Governor also ordered the closure of athletic training camps, while calling on athletes to train individually for now and avoid overcrowding or running in groups as they often do.
He also instructed all public institutions to ensure they have hand washing facilities that is water and liquid soap in their premises and called on hotels and restaurants to maintain hygiene and avoid overcrowding.
Speaking to the media in his office after chairing the County Emergency Response team, the Governor said a 20 bed isolation ward, had been established at the Iten County Referral Hospital and another five bed isolation ward at Kapsowar Mission Hospital.
“We are also in the process of establishing isolation wards at Chesoi, Chepkorio and Kapcherop while we have trained 30 medical personnel who will train others to manage the disease including the Community Health Volunteers,” he said.
“We are, therefore, calling on members of the public to seek medical attention in the nearest health facility in case of any symptom related to the disease like flu, high fever, shortness of breath and chest pains among others,” he said.
The Governor added that the County has established a help line 0740800530, which will be manned for 24 hours, which the residents can use for more information.
The Governor also advised residents to minimize movement, saying they do not have to go to offices, saying some services can be sorted out over the phone.
He said a suspected case in the area last week turned negative after tests were undertaken at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and assured residents that for now nobody has tested positive for the virus in the County, which receives many foreigners who come to train in the area.
In another development, the Speaker to the local Assembly, Philemon Sabulei has suspended all planned public participation meetings until further notice.
Sabulei added that the House will also be going for recess beginning Tuesday and that only a few critical staff will continue working in the office, while the rest will be allowed to work from home.
By Martin Munyi/Simon Warabek/Alice Wanjiru