Nyeri medics appeal for PPE as asymptomatic Covid-19 cases rise

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What you need to know:

  • Three health workers  have contracted the disease after handling an asymptomatic patient at the Nyeri Referral Hospital.
  • They have been put in isolation at the Mt Kenya Hospital which has a capacity of 15 beds.
  • Dr Goody said they are being forced to reuse their masks for an entire day before disposing them off.

A rise in the number of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in Nyeri has raised concerns among health workers with the county government urging residents to observe guidelines after nine positive cases were confirmed.

Speaking while receiving a Sh500,000 donation from Britam, Governor Mutahi Kahiga said of the nine cases reported, only one was symptomatic.

Three health workers are said to have contracted the disease after handling an asymptomatic patient at the Nyeri Referral Hospital.

The three, an intern medical officer, a clinical officer and a nurse, have been put in isolation at the Mt Kenya Hospital which has a capacity of 15 beds.

NYERI ILL-PREPARED

According to Mr Kahiga, the county was ill-prepared for the pandemic. But he said he has committed county resources to help in fighting the pandemic.

“We were ill-equipped as a county because looking around you can tell we were not really ready to handle a pandemic,” he said.

He urged residents to observe the guidelines stipulated by the Ministry of Health to help manage the virus from spreading within communities.

“From what we have seen, a lot of people are asymptomatic and we should be conscious to the fact that Covid-19 is a personal responsibility. Let us all adhere to the guidelines issued by the ministry,” he said.

The governor assured the infected health workers that contracting the virus is not a death sentence.

NO SAFETY EQUIPMENT

At the same time, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union Central Region Secretary General Goody Gor said Nyeri County is putting the lives of health workers at the risk of contracting the virus for lack of equipment to protect themselves.

Dr Goody said they are being forced to reuse their masks for an entire day before disposing them off.

“Medical workers are not adequately prepared to handle Covid-19 patients because we have no masks or the personal protective equipment. If we lose health workers due to lack of protection from the government, we will not manage to fight the pandemic,” she said, adding that the county does not have a single ventilator.

She further stated the health workers contracted the disease after handling a 12-year-old boy who died of the virus while on his way to the theatre. He was asymptomatic.

DOCTORS IN QUARANTINE

“We have about 10 doctors in quarantine as we speak from the paediatric ward, surgery and an aesthetician who got to operate on the child,” she said.

At the same time, Dr Goody said they are yet to receive the Covid-19 risk allowance announced by the government.

Each doctor was to receive a monthly allowance which depending on one’s job group.

Data from the health department indicate that Nyeri County has 1,018 beds in all its health facilities, guaranteeing management of covid-19 should there be a spike in numbers.

At least 124 people are set to be released from the three quarantine facilities within the county after completing the 14 days mandatory stay and testing negative for the virus.