All Covid-19 patients in Mandera County will remain in isolation until they fully recover from the disease.
County Health Executive Mohamud Adan Mohamed has said this amid pressure from relatives of the patients demanding their release.
Mr Mohamud said it is risky to release patients who still exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus disease to the community “just because the families need them”.
“There is a procedure of releasing these patients back to society and in most cases it is only done after a patient tests negative for Covid-19 twice or thrice,” he said.
Mandera that has recorded 18 cases of the disease since April.
Seven patients are still at the Mandera County Referral Hospital isolation centre.
“We took samples for the seven patients in the isolation for the second testing yesterday (Sunday) to Nairobi and once the results are back then we shall be releasing six of them,” Mr Mohamud said Monday.
One of the seven had his first confirmatory test and he will still undergo a second one before being released, according to Mr Mohamed.
Several relatives of the seven patients under medical observation had complained that their kin are being held unfairly.
Ms Kahala Ali had complained that her husband has been held at the isolation centre for over a month.
“My husband was picked in early May and has been kept at the hospital, leaving us with no food. He was the family breadwinner and now the landlord is threatening to kick me and our three children out of the house,” she said.
She said the relief food released by Governor Ali Roba targeting families affected by the coronavirus is yet to reach her.
“I have never received relief food as promised by health officers who came to take samples from me and my children after my husband turned positive,” she said.
In reaction, the county Health minister said that families who are yet to receive the relief food will be reached soon.
FEND FOR FAMILY
Ms Nadhifa Mohamed wants her brother released so that he can fend for his family of six.
“I cannot provide food for a family of 15 from my vegetable stall in the town. I want my brother released so that he can continue providing for his family,” she said.
The county Health department promised to release all patients but only after they test negative for the disease.
The last positive coronavirus cases were recorded on May 7, and all other tests have been turning negative since then.
“We have a flattened curve because all the intervention measures have worked in our favour and we continue enforcing the same,” said Mr Mohamud.
He said it is taking long to have tests done and confirmed due to logistical issues.
“We lack testing capacity locally and the backlog in Nairobi also affected our efforts in the fight but we are moving on well despite these challenges,” he said.
He said despite the long stay in the isolation by the patients, both psychological and any other needed support is being provided by the county administration.
He revealed that the county has received its share of the recently released Sh5 billion but he could not disclose the exact figure given to Mandera.
“We have the funds with us and these will go towards building our capacity as a county government,” he said.
He blamed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the stand-off between the health officials and the county government over promised allowances.
“We have been unable to pay our staff the special allowances due to SRC guidelines but by the end of this month (June) they will be receiving their allowances for the three months,” he said.
Health officers in the coronavirus response team in Mandera had threatened to down their tools if they don’t get the allowances beginning this week.