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Nakuru closes county office after Covid-19 case, services go virtual

Friday July 24 2020
Lee

Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui during a press briefing on Covid-19 cases in the county, APRIL 21, 2020. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ERIC MATARA

Nakuru County has closed its procurement department following a positive case of the coronavirus and subsequent contact tracing.

In a statement Friday, Governor Lee Kinyanjui said a staff member was found infected after the mandatory testing of county employees and health workers.

"In order to safeguard the workforce and reduce the spread of the virus, the county will carry out mandatory periodic testing of its staff. With escalating numbers of infections, we shall be issuing guidelines on provision of critical services that may be interrupted by temporary closure,” he said.

Procurement services will therefore be handled virtually while all offices that will remain open will only accept visitation on appointment.

"The well-being of our workers is key and therefore all necessary measures will be instituted to protect them and their families," the governor said.

He urged people with Covid-19 symptoms and those who had been in contact with patients to immediately reach the surveillance team for action.

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"I urge all residents to take personal responsibility and continue observing Ministry of Health guidelines.The only way to tame the spread of the virus is to adhere to measures put in place by the government,"he said.

COUNTY CASES

Nakuru has so far tested at least 6,000 people and confirmed 227 cases of the virus in 10 of its 11 sub-counties, including 61 recoveries and five deaths.

Nineteen patients are admitted at Nakuru Level Five Hospital, 13 at Langalanga isolation facility and 10 at Naivasha Sub-county Hospital.

The county has introduced home-based care for asymptomatic patients and currently has 27 people in the programme.

Health executive Gichuki Kariuki said on Friday that 224 people are under observation, eight of them at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) quarantine centre and 216 at home.

"Seven health workers, 80 truck drivers and 22 food handlers have tested positive,” Dr Kariuki said, adding that 96 were found after surveillance teams were alerted, 21 were the contacts of infected patients and one an inmate.

Most of the truck drivers were tested at the Maai Mahiu mobile testing unit.

TOUGHER MEASURES

Governor Kinyanjui is among leaders who have called for additional  tougher measures by the national government to tame the spread of the virus.

He cited effects of the cold weather, lifting of travel restrictions and gross disregard for preventive measures as reasons for the rise in the number of cases in Kenya.

The country’s caseload rose to 16,268 on Thursday, with 667 more infections following the testing of 5,075 people in 24 hours.

Nakuru’s health authorities have rolled out the targeted mass testing of high risk groups, which is part of a grand scheme to enhance surveillance and combat the virus.

The county is one of the 14 high risk counties in Kenya due to its proximity to Nairobi and its state as a transit county.

It falls along Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway, which  is part of the northern corridor and a key route to Western Kenya.

The route connects Kenya and the landlocked countries of Uganda, Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

The road is used for transporting most of the west-bound cargo that originates from the port of Mombasa and  Nairobi, which have been identified as virus epicentres.

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