Tharaka-Nithi County government has embarked on a door-to-door intensive public sensitisation exercise on Covid-19 pandemic that has so far reached 257,292 residents in 89,373 households.
At least 7,254 people living in urban centres and 20 special groups including those living with disabilities and HIV patients have also been informed on measures to take to avoid contracting the virus.
The county health executive, Dr Gichuyia Nthuraku, said the Department of Health Services and Sanitation has trained its 1,320 staff and other key players on how to respond to suspected cases of Covid-19.
Staff working at the county call centre have also been sensitised. The facility serves as a public health emergency operation centre where members of the public call to get information or report any suspected case in the county.
“We have embarked on an intensive public awareness exercise because we have realised that the best way to overcome Covid-19 pandemic is informing people on the preventive measures because the disease has no cure,” said Dr Nthuraku.
He said Governor Muthomi Njuki's government's target is to ensure that each and every resident is aware of the pandemic and strictly observes all the preventive measures.
He said the government has put up posters and banners across the county containing information on how to avoid contracting the virus and has also distributed alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
He said to ensure that healthcare workers at the health facilities are ready to handle Covid-19 patients without exposing themselves to the virus, 115 medicc had been trained and a total of 1,205 county staff, including guards, drivers and morgue attendants, have been sensitised.
Dr Nthuraku said county government had installed 75,934 handwashing facilities at residential areas, markets and other mapped areas and at least 1,000 community health volunteers are vising homesteads ensuring that they have water and soap.
The official said in collaboration with the security officers, they had mounted road blocks in the county’s 13 main entry points making sure that all people entering the region have their temperature
screened and so far 70,598 have been tested.
“We are not allowing any person to enter our territory without undergoing the thermo screening because the virus is now spreading to counties far from the main areas where the first cases were reported meaning that it’s being transported by individuals,” he said.
He said that so far the county had isolated of three suspected Covid-19 cases; two in PCEA Chogoria Hospital and one in St Orsola Hospital and that they had all tested negative after analysis of their samples at the National Influenza Centre in Nairobi.
He said over 200 Covid-19 alerts raised in county had been investigated and confirmed to be negative and about 4,000 people who have travelled to the region had been so far subjected to14-day self-quarantine at their homes and that 3859 had completed.
The official said the county currently seven isolation centres and had identified other facilities across the county to be used in case the number of cases increases.
However, Dr Nthuraku insisted on preventive measures as paramount in the fight against the virus and said that government will take serious action against people breaching the rules including those not observing social distance and not wearing face masks.
To keep its members of the public informed on the progress, the devolved government will be issuing press statements on weekly bases.