Shalom Hospital in Athi River was on Friday night closed to new patients and turned into a quarantine facility following reported cases of Covid-19.
The move by Machakos county government follows the death of three patients at the hospital as a result of coronavirus.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said the decision was reached after consulting with Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council and the Director-General of Health.
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“Last night, my government, after consultations with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council and the Director-General of Health closed the facility for new patients,” Mutua tweeted on Saturday.
He said the facility has been completely sealed off after a number of patients and a health worker also tested positive for Covid-19.
“Other patients have also tested positive for Covid-19 and the fear is that they were infected at the hospital. A health worker has also tested positive,” said the governor.
The hospital, in a statement, said that three patients died as they tried to transfer them to other hospitals better equipped to handle critical cases.
“Being a Level Four hospital, we do not have ICU facilities and have been referring critical cases to advanced public and private hospitals. Due to constraint in ICU facilities countrywide, three patients passed as the referral cases were being processed,” read the statement.
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The facility’s management confirmed that there were suspected Covid-19 patients in the hospital but said they have been isolated and under treatment.
In a statement signed by Dr Hellen Omari, the hospital said all the patients suspected to be suffering from coronavirus have been put in isolation tested and treated as per the regulations of the Ministry of Health.
“In the last few days, our hospital has witnessed an increase in patients suspected to be suffering from Covid-19, mainly from Nairobi Metropolitan area and referrals from local clinics. Some patients have been symptomatic while others are asymptomatic, but all the patients have been tested, isolated and treated as per the Health ministry regulations,” read the statement in parts.
The hospital said out of the eight suspected cases of Covid-19, six turned positive after testing, prompting the management to test its staff and patients that could have come into contact with the patients.
According to the statement, of the 19 staff of the hospital tested, one tested positive.
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Mutua said the facility has now been turned into quarantine facility and told members of the public to seek health services in other facilities.
The governor said screening and testing of those within the facility have started but could take several days.
Mutua urged members of the public to remain calm as the county government works round the clock to ensure health facilities are safe to avoid hospital-based infections.
"I urge all Wananchi to be patient as we ensure all health facilities are safe so as to avoid hospital-based infections as was the case in places like New York and several Italian cities," he said.