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Governors call for caution as virus kills county official

Health & Science

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya receives coronavirus protective kits from Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe when Kagwe inspected Kakamega County Referral Isolation Centre on August 8.2020. [File, Standard]

A top county official in Kakamega died of Covid-19 yesterday while several others are undergoing treatment.

Robert Sumbi, the Kakamega County Chief of Staff, succumbed to Covid-19 complications at the Kakamega County Referral Hospital early yesterday.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya announced Sumbi’s death and further warned that the disease was making a resurgence. Senior officers in the Oparanya administration are either in home-based isolation or are admitted to hospitals.

The Kakamega County Assembly was closed after a number of MCAs tested positive for coronavirus. On Wednesday, Oparanya closed the county’s offices at the headquarters for seven days and directed all his officers to take Covid-19 tests.

Oparanya has also recalled retired Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experts to help the straining workforce. He said his administration would recruit the retired experts, adding that at least 57 health workers in the county had contracted the virus.

Covid-19 cases in Kakamega have increased from just four in June to 316. “I have relatives in hospitals battling Covid-19, some of them in critical condition,” Oparanya said.

In Trans-Nzoia County, three Form Four students at Maridadi Mixed Secondary School in Kwanza Constituency have been quarantined after they tested positive for the virus.

Philip Kipyego, the school principal, said: “The KCSE candidates, two boys and a girl, exhibited Covid-19 symptoms and after being tested for the disease, the results came positive”.

The students were taken to the Mt Elgon Hospital isolation centre in Kitale town. At least 12 deaths and more than 400 positive cases have been reported in the county.

Trans-Nzoia Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus expressed concern that residents were failing to follow guidelines set to control the spread of the virus. 

In Nakuru, Governor Lee Kinyanjui raised the alarm over surging cases. On Wednesday, Mr Kinyanjui said at least 80 per cent of Covid-19 isolation beds in the county’s hospitals were occupied.

Reports by the Ministry of Health rank Nakuru among the top 10 counties hardest hit by the disease. County health documents reveal there are 458 isolation beds spread in various hospitals.

In Naivasha, there are reports that 32 members of staff at the sub-county hospital have tested positive for Covid-19.

This comes barely a week after more than 15 workers from Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital also tested positive for the disease.

The sub-county hospital management, in a notice sent to all departments, directed affected staff to isolate for 14 days.

Angeline Ithondeka, the superintendent in charge of the facility, declined to comment, saying the issue was being handled from the county headquarters.

According to Kariuki Gichuki, the County Executive for Health, the total number of medics who have tested positive in the county stands at 176.

Dr Gichuki said more than 1,400 medics had participated in an ongoing mass testing exercise. The positivity rate stands at 9.5 per cent.

He said 2,415 cases had been recorded in all the 11 sub-counties, with 52 deaths reported.

[John Shiltsa, Mercy Kahenda, Antony Gitonga and Osinde Obare]

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