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Counties rush to set up more isolation centres

Kisii Governor James Ongwae chairs a meeting with county staff and medical practitioners on Coronavirus preparedness in his office, yesterday. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Counties are rushing against time to establish isolation centres and train staff to handle coronavirus cases.

In what is likely to test the healthcare system that has been under scrutiny by stakeholders over poor performance, county officials in Homa Bay, Kisumu and Nyamira counties said that they were prepared to handle the cases.

The region is banking on the few referral hospitals as well as private facilities to combat the disease.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o said his administration has prepared 25 isolation beds in three facilities.

Prof Nyong’o noted that 15 beds have been set aside at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, five at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital while five at the airport dispensary.

“We have up-scaled health promotion activities with robust public communication awareness across the media spectrum,” he said.

In Nyamira, Governor John Nyagarama said Bombangi Dispensary within Township Ward has been prepared for isolation of coronavirus patients as counties rush to beat the March 15 deadline announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta to prepare the isolation centres.

Nyagarama and County Commissioner Amos Mariba said that a special committee has been formed to steer surveillance and prevention campaigns in the region.

“We are prepared and we are sure that the viral infection will not penetrate our county,” the governor said.

Homa Bay has established an isolation centre at Malela dispensary in Ndhiwa sub-county.

Governor Cyprian Awiti said they want to establish at least 16 isolation beds in all hospitals. Addressing journalists after a consultative meeting with leaders, Mr Awiti said they have established special wards in the county referral hospital and sub-county hospitals to temporarily accommodate suspected Covid-19 cases.

“The special wards in sub county hospitals will serve as examination centers for suspected cases before they are taken to Malela,” he said.

The governor issued a hotline 0725902835 for residents to report coronavirus cases.

[Reports by Harold Odhiambo, James Omoro, Mactilda Mbenywe and Stanley Ongwae]