The level of Bungoma County’s preparedness to handle Covid-19 was put to the test yesterday when all public health facilities rejected a patient with coronavirus-like symptoms.
The patient had to be transferred to Nairobi’s Mbagathi Hospital. The 19-year-old patient, who had checked in at the Lifecare Hospital in Bungoma town on Monday night, had travelled from Switzerland through Dubai before taking a flight from JKIA to Kisumu. From Kisumu, the patient took a matatu to his home in Mumias East Sub-county, where he started coughing and sneezing and had high fever.
He was rushed to Lifecare Hospital on a motor bike, where medics said his symptoms were related to coronavirus as his temperature was at 39 degrees.
The management at Lifecare Hospital called the Bungoma County emergency team, which suggested he be quarantined. But the hospital was not ready and asked the county to handle him at their public facilities.
After moving around, with all public facilities turning him away, the county said they were not able to quarantine him because they lacked adequate equipment. This is despite the county leadership last week announcing it had set up a 16-bed isolation ward at Webuye Sub-county Hospital.
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County Commissioner Abdi Hassan said the patient had to be taken to Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi for testing and treatment.
“We had a patient from a neighbouring county who exhibited symptoms of Covid-19 and was checked in one of our private hospitals, but was later moved to Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi,” he said.
Mr Abdi said the patient disclosed that he arrived in the country nine days ago and had been treated at various local hospitals in Mumias. He was, however, not showing any signs of improvement.
“We are appealing to our residents not to panic since we have now put adequate measures in place to ensure that the virus does not spread,” Abdi said.
Lifecare Medical superintendent Kevin Rombosia confirmed they received the patient on Monday night accompanied by his parents and brother, but could not admit him.