Machakos county government has sealed off Shalom hospital in Athi River following reported deaths due to coronavirus.
Governor Alfred Mutua said the decision to close the facility was informed after intense consultation with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board and the county director of health.
“My government off the hospital in Athi River following deaths of some patients due to COVID-19. Other inpatients have also tested positive for the same disease and the fear is that the patients were infected while in the hospital,” said Mutua on Saturday morning.
He said a health worker from the facility has also tested positive and the hospital is now a quarantine facility.
“I am therefore urging people to keep off the facility. No one is allowed to get in or leave the hospital. The process of screening and testing for COVID-19 may take several days and has already started,” said the governor.
He said further decisions will be undertaken according to the evaluation of the relevant agencies involved in the provision of health care and the combating of COVID-19.
“I urge all Wananchi to be patient as we ensure all health facilities are safe to avoid hospital-based infections that were witnessed in places like New York and several Italian cities,” said Mutua.
Most residents of Kajiado take their sick relatives to the facility and the news of the Covid-19 infection has caused shivers among Kitengela residents, who are close to Shalom Hospital in Athi River.
It was not clear what action the county government of Kajiado is taking after the news emerging in the neighbourhood hospital was received in Kitengela. This is happening after its department of health cut links with the media many months ago.
The county government of Kajiado does not announce any news about Coronavirus infection or deaths and residents are not even warned of the “red spot” areas where the infection is on the rise.
It is not also clear whether the decision not to engage the media is a directive by Governor Joseph Lenku or that of his county minister Esther Somoire.
Their action has influenced most of the local people who argue that since no one has died of Covid-19, the disease is not in Kajiado.
Wearing of masks is also not taken seriously in small shopping centres along the Kajiado/Namanga road. Most of the cases of infection announced by the ministry of health were captured in Namanga border town.