Rongo hospital shut after 10 staff contract Covid-19

A doctor takes a sample from a man for Covid-19 testing.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • According to the hospital’s management, the 10 cases were found after 100 samples were collected from both medics and support staff and taken for testing last week.
  • The director said the hospital will operate with a small team as disinfection is carried out and asked the Ministry of Health and partners to cater for short term staffing. 

Anxiety has gripped residents of North Kamagambo location in Rongo Sub-county as 10 members of Lwala Community Alliance, a community hospital, have tested positive for Covid-19.

According to the hospital’s management, the 10 cases were found after 100 samples were collected from both medics and support staff and taken for testing last week.

Director Julius Mbai said routine testing was carried out as a way of preventing the spread of the virus among staff and in the community.

"Being on the frontlines of healthcare delivery, we knew we would be exposed to the virus so we conducted routine tests to ensure the safety of staff as well as reduce the spread. In the second round of routine testing, we [found] our staff positive," Mr Mbai told the Nation on phone.

"Some are experiencing mild symptoms while others are asymptomatic. Together with the Ministry of Health, we are exploring options for care, including home-based isolation and caring for those with mild symptoms in our isolation center."

Lean team

This brings to 12 the number of infections at the facility as two cases were reported earlier.

Staff at the hospital have since been asked to self-quarantine and outpatient services suspended for two weeks amid contact tracing.

Mr Mbai said the hospital resolved to send all staff away for home-based quarantine, the aim being to keep the public safe and make contact tracing easier.

“We have requested all staff who have been in the hospital compound within the last 10 days to quarantine and retest before returning to work. The directive is aimed at keeping our team and clients safe," he said.

The director said the hospital will operate with a small team as disinfection is carried out and that the ministry and partners were asked to cater for short term staffing. 

In a circular to all staff, he further said everybody who was on leave was recalled to conduct in-patient services and that the county health department asked the Health ministry for backup.

He said people currently under in-patient care will remain at the facility until they are discharged and that the maternity section will remain open.

County tally

The new infections raised Migori’s tally of declared infections to 475.

Meanwhile, Governor Okoth Obado has called for the reopening of the economy, saying the virus is “non-existent.”

On Wednesday, Governor Obado and County Commissioner Boaz Rotich openly disagreed over Migori’s state as the country fights the virus, with the latter calling for punitive measures for those flouting safety rules.

“There is no Covid-19. In fact, our neighbours in Tanzania are living a normal life. Why not us? Let’s not be swayed by non-existent theories about the virus,” Mr Obado said.

But in a sharp rejoinder, Mr Cherotich warned those found breaching protocols of dire consequences.

“Don’t be misled. There is a new wave of infections and the government has not lifted precautionary measures. Beach them at your own risk,” Mr Cherotich told a meeting at Isebania town.

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