Governor Mutua seals off Shalom Hospital after three COVID-19 deaths
The Machakos County government has shut down Shalom Hospital in Athi River after three patients succumbed to COVID-19.
Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua, in a statement released on Saturday, said other inpatients at the facility as well as at least one health worker have since also tested positive for the disease.
According to Dr. Mutua, the decision to seal off the hospital was arrived at following consultations with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council as well as Ministry of Health Director General.
“The hospital is now a quarantine facility and therefore no one is allowed to get in or leave the hospital,” said the Machakos County boss.
“The process of screening and testing for COVID-19 imay take several days and has already started. Further decisions will be undertaken according to evaluation of the relevant agencies involved in the provision of health care and combating of COVID-19.”
He further added: “I urge all wananchi to be patient as we ensure all health facilities are safe so as to avoid hospital based infections that were witnessed in places like New York and several Italian cities.”
The facility, in a statement to newsrooms signed by Dr. Hellen Omari, said the three patients succumbed to the disease during referral to an advanced hospital owing to constrained Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facilities countrywide.
Dr. Omari said the hospital has, in recent times, witnessed an influx in patients suspected of suffering from COVID-19 from the Nairobi Metropolitan Area as well as referrals from local clinics, adding that some were symptomatic and others asymptomatic.
The hospital hence resorted to testing all staff and patients who were seen at the facility and six out of the seven patients tested positive as well as one out of 19 members of staff.
“All the suspected cases were treated within the isolation ward (pending release of results) and with no contact with the rest of the patients,” added Dr. Omari.
“As a Level IV hospital, we do not have Intensive Care Facilities (ICU). We have been referring the critical cases to advanced public and private hospitals.”
She further added: “Unfortunately, there has been a challenge with such referrals owing to constrained ICU facilities countrywide. This situation has regrettably resulted in 3 fatalities as the referral cases are being processed.”
The facility also appealed to patients in all hospitals countrywide to make full disclosures while seeking treatment so as to minimize risks to other patients and health staff.