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Soaring cases turn schools into isolation centres

Health & Science - By Standard Team | November 17th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Bahati Girls Secondary school. The school was converted into an isolation centre after 68 students and five teachers tested Covid-19 positive. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Schools are feeling the heat of Covid-19 that is ravaging the country with one student succumbing to the virus yesterday even as tests on dozens of others turned out positive.

Yesterday, a Form Four girl at Lureko Secondary School in Mumias West died of Covid-19 in hospital.

Kakamega County Health Executive Collins Matemba told The Standard that parents of the student had also tested positive for the virus and had been put under home-based care.

“The student developed complications while at home and was taken to St Mary’s Mission Hospital in Mumias and later transferred to Lifecare in Bungoma where she died,” Dr Matemba said.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

This happened even as a student from Mukumu Girls who had been admitted to St Elizabeth Mukumu Mission Hospital disappeared moments after tests taken from her earlier showed she had tested positive.

School Principal Fridah Amwayi said the student was taken to the hospital after she fell sick in school.

Matemba said at least nine new positive cases were reported at St Peter’s Boys in Mumias.

“Five of the infected students from St Peter’s Boys are at Likuyani isolation facility, three are undergoing treatment at Mumias Level 4 Hospital while one is under home-based isolation,” he said.

Matemba also dismissed claims that Matungu MP Justus Murunga could have died due to lack of oxygen.

“The MP collapsed at home and he was already dead by the time he arrived at St Mary’s Mumias Mission Hospital,” he said. In Baringo County, movement in and out of Kabarnet High School has been restricted after 38 students tested positive on Sunday.

The 38 were among 48 whose samples were collected after a few of them started developing Covid-19 like symptoms.

Yesterday, no one was allowed in or out of the institution as national and county government health officials monitored the situation. “The school has been converted into an isolation centre. The sick students have been separated from those who are yet to be tested,” said a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It emerged that the health department does not have enough testing kits to test all the students and teachers.

Health officials visited the school yesterday and took samples of a few other students. Results are expected on Wednesday. Contacted, County Health Executive Mary Panga said she was in a meeting while County Commissioner Henry Wafula declined to comment on the matter.

The Baringo branch Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers executive secretary Christopher Kimosop said schools should provide information to parents.

In Nakuru, 68 candidates at Bahati Girls tested positive last week. At least 115 others are also being monitored by officers from the public health department and will undergo Covid-19 tests after 14 days.

Meanwhile, students from Kiptoim Mixed Secondary School in Mogotio are yet to report to school a week after they went on strike for fear of contracting Covid-19.

The institution, which had 50 students when it opened, now has only four students - three boys and a girl.

In neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet, more than 12 Form Four students at Chebiemit Boys Secondary School tested positive last week, sparking fears of an exponential spread in learning institutions.

Last month, one student tested positive at Kabote Boys Adventist Secondary School in Nandi Hills. In Siaya, more than five schools have reported cases of the virus.

In the region, 10 students are still in isolation while one has already been discharged from a facility. Yala and Lwak secondary schools are the latest schools to record cases of the disease, with two cases each.

Two other primary schools in the county have also reported cases, even as education officials dismissed claims that the numbers are soaring.

County Director Amala Wamocho claimed the cases that have been reported in schools are all under control and appealed for calm.

In Homa Bay, some 42 students at Mawego Technical Training College are battling the virus. In Kisumu, health officials are racing against time to respond to the spiking numbers of infections.

At the Coast, panic has gripped Marafa Boys School in Kilifi after 39 students and 11 staff members tested positive.

Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olakha said the affected students were among 83 learners that returned to school after the partial re-opening.

A teacher from the school said 11 teachers have also tested positive in a rapid escalation in the spread of Covid-19 in the learning institution.

The students are undergoing counseling.

Yesterday, parents thronged the school’s gate and fence to catch a glimpse of their children.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi met the Covid-19 response team in his office to discuss measures to tame the spread of the virus.

The Standard also established that mass testing was being conducted at Magengani Boys and Kibokoni Mixed School after the cooks tested positive.

Magengeni and Kiboni schools are also in Magharine, an area health officials have identified as a hot spot of Covid-19 infections in Kilifi County.

In Mombasa, County Education Chief Officer John Musuva said Tononoka High School, where 27 teachers and students tested positive, had re-opened.

School principal Mohamed Khamis succumbed to Covid-19 and was buried.

In Tana River, four learners at Sane Girls Secondary School and Broadway Academy in Hola town have tested positive for the virus.

In Taita Taveta, Voi Primary School was closed indefinitely early this month after three teachers tested positive.

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