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Isiolo opens regional Covid-19 testing centre

Friday May 15 2020

Mohamed Kuti

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti during the commissioning of a laboratory at Isiolo Referral Hpspital on June 10, 2019. The lab has been approved as the Upper Eastern region Covid-19 testing CENTRE. PHOTO | WAWERU WAIRIMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Upper Eastern counties will no longer take samples from suspected Covid-19 patients to Nairobi following the approval of Isiolo Referral Hospital’s laboratory as a testing centre.

The laboratory renovated by the Governor Mohamed Kuti's administration in partnership with the United States Department of Defence will be the testing centre for patients from Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Laikipia and Marsabit counties.

The Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) in a letter dated May 14 noted that the lab had complied with established standards and enabling regulatory laws for the practice of medical lab personnel working in high containment environment.

“We are pleased to convey to you approval of the Isiolo Referral Hospital laboratory as a SARS Covid-19 testing site for Upper Eastern region,” the letter from KMLTTB Registrar Abdulatif Ali reads.

Isiolo Heath Chief Officer Ibrahim Alio said officials from the board will from coming week train county health care workers before the services kick off.

Speaking to the Nation, Mr Alio said the county, with one Covid-19 case, will focus on mass testing in efforts to prevent spread of the deadly virus.


“The needed equipment including the cartridges will be delivered from next week,” said Mr Alio.

He said over 1200 health workers had been trained on handling suspected Coronavirus cases and that training for Sub-County health management teams by the Ministry of Health officials was ongoing.

This comes as contact tracing for over 20 people who physically interacted with the patient who sneaked into the county from Eastleigh on the night of April 29 continues.

Thirty three out of the 37 quarantined persons, including family and workers, who came into contact with the victim last Wednesday tested negative for the disease.

Some 23 people spread across the county who travelled in the same bus that the patient used from Isiolo town to his Garbatulla home have been quarantined bringing the total number of traced contacts to 48.

The Kenya Medical Training College has already offered two vehicles to assist health and security teams in pursuing others who travelled in the same vehicle and those who mingled with the businessman.

The county has enhanced surveillance across its borders with counties with confirmed Coronavirus cases.

Sanitisation booth has been installed at the Referral hospital and within Isiolo International Airport’s roadblock to help in preventing transmission of the disease.

An Intensive Care unit was recently opened at the hospital with bed capacity of six patients and supported by seven bed capacity high dependency unit to help deal with Covid-19 cases.