Governors raise alarm over delayed COVID-19 test results

Governors raise alarm over delayed COVID-19 test results

The Council of Governors has expressed concern over delayed COVID-19 test results for counties.

COG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said this poses a huge risk of community infections which if not addressed in a timely manner will render futile Kenya’s efforts in fighting the pandemic.

“Council of Governors staff who undertook a mandatory COVID-19 test on August 14, 2020 received their results one week down the line as opposed to the expected 24 hours. This begs the question of how much longer it takes for the ordinary mwananchi to receive their results?” he posed.

The Governors want the Ministry of Health to expedite the turnaround time for testing results to enable proper and timely management of the virus.

In a statement, Oparanya revealed that 43 counties had reported on the status of active quarantine facilities with 859 patients currently isolated.

Quarantine facilities

He said 976 of those who were confined in public quarantine centres have been released, reducing the number of patients in the said facilities.

According to him, 17 counties do not have patients in quarantine facilities.

“Cumulatively in 43 counties, 10,490 tests have been carried out, of which 740 healthcare workers tested positive. To support the infected workers, County Governments have put aside quarantine facilities specifically for the frontline health care workers to facilitate their recovery,” Oparanya said.

In addition, 1,881 patients are in home based isolation care across 43 counties.

Reports indicate that 1,145 people who were confined in home-based care have fully recovered and county governments continue to offer support to COVID-19 patients and their families.

Ksh.43B scandal

However, Governors criticized the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) over revelations that it was unable to account for at least Ksh. 43 billion meant for the fight against coronavirus.

“Additionally, it is upsetting that donations from Jack Ma were stolen hence exposing our frontline healthcare workers to the virus due to lack of PPE kits or issuance of substandard PPE kits,” Oparanya added.

The COG Chairman called for speedy investigations and prosecution of perpetrators of what he termed as a heinous act.

“It is inconceivable that as a nation our conscience is so compromised that we happily dance on the grave of those who unfortunately succumbed to this virus,” he said.

On the Senate stalemate over the revenue sharing formula for counties, Oparanya decried lack of funds for the devolved units saying further delay has paralyzed operations and slowed down response measures towards COVID-19.

He said Governors anticipate that this will make the already bad situation worse.

“We call upon the Senate to expeditiously conclude this matter to enable disbursements of funds to Counties,” the COG boss said.

Gender interventions

Meanwhile, the Council of Governors through the support of UN Women held a virtual meeting on August 13, 2020.

Oparanya said the session was for the induction of 42 women, youth and persons with disabilities as representatives of the special interest groups in the County Emergency Response Committees (CERCs).

He said the induction focused on how to safeguard inclusion of vulnerable groups in the CERCs.

“This will ensure that the rights, needs and aspirations of persons with disabilities are recognized and values such as inclusion, participation and dignity are considered in the prevention and response of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.