Uasin Gishu County Assembly shut after MCA tests positive for Covid posthumously

Uasin Gishu County Assembly building. [Image: Courtesy]

Uasin Gishu County Assembly members have been sent on compulsory leave over Covid-19 fears.

The 46 MCAs and tens of staffers have been directed to proceed on a 21-day leave after it emerged that Huruma Ward Rep Peter Chomba, who collapsed and died ten days ago had posthumously tested positive for coronavirus.

Chomba died at an Eldoret hospital and will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Uasin Gishu Assembly Clerk Shadrack Choge sent an internal memo asking all ward reps and staff to proceed on the compulsory leave from today to November 6.

“This is to inform you that it has been decided by management to grant everyone a compulsory leave of 21 days starting Monday, October 19 to November 6 following the demise of Hon Peter Chomba,” the memo signed by the clerk read in part.

The memo further reads: “The decision was informed by the Covid-19 test that was conducted on the deceased (the late Chomba) and it was confirmed to be positive.”

Uasin Gishu recorded 74 Covid-19 positive cases on Saturday, the highest number in recent months, sparking fears of a surge.

Speaker David Kiplagat said testing of all MCAs and staff has commenced following the release of the late ward rep’s postmortem report.

Mr Kiplagat said the assembly will remain closed for the entire period, during which all ward reps and staff will be in self-quarantine.

“We wish to inform residents of Uasin Gishu and the public that we have received the official results of a postmortem that was conducted on the deceased from the family, which confirmed that the cause of death was Covid-19,” the speaker said.

“In light of this information, Uasin Gishu County Assembly has commenced testing of all Honourable Members and Staff,” he added.

Positive cases

However, Mr Kiplagat did not disclose the results of the Covid-19 tests carried on the MCAs and staffers.

But sources said a number of MCAs and staff tested positive and have been put under homecare.

He pleaded with staffers and MCAs to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines such as washing hands and sanitising, wearing masks correctly and maintaining social distance.

In Nandi, eight staff in the county procurement department tested Covid-19 positive crippling operations in the county.

While addressing journalists, Health executive Ruth Koech said that a second wave of the Covid-19 in the county has prompted the enforcement of the preventive measures in public offices and social gatherings.

“The members of the staff tested positive were checked and found that they are asymptomatic. They have been advised to take home-based care and so far they are stable,” she said.

The county has temporarily closed the offices and launched fumigation exercise in the 2nd floor where the finance, deputy and governor's offices are while the members of the public seeking services are locked out.

"The members of the staff who by chance have come in contact with the victim have been subject to testing. Other county officers have been advised to voluntarily go to be tested Covid-19," she said.

Among the 42 active cases include nine remandees who are currently under medication in Nandi hills sub-county isolation centre.

"We have experienced a sudden upsurge of the virus in the county and so far out of 4,482 persons to have been tested, 142 cases have come out positive since the virus hit the country. What has come to our concern is the consistent spiralling of the virus at an average of 10 to 15 positive cases," Koech said.

Fears of surge

At the same time, the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), the largest coronavirus testing centre in parts of the Rift Valley and Western issued a warning of a possible surge in numbers as more Kenyans lower their guard.

MTRH Chief Executive Officer Wilson Aruasa attributed the rising cases to failure by Kenyans to observe the preventive measures issued by the Ministry of Health.

“Following the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, with unprecedented surge over the past few days, we wish to remind ourselves that prevention efforts remain key,” Dr Aruasa said in a statement.

He asked Kenyans to closely watch their health to boost their immune system.

“Take a walk for at least 30 minutes every day and enjoy free vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D has been shown to prevent Covid-19 infection and also to mitigate against severe infection,” the CEO said.