Three health workers isolated in Kitui amid virus fears

An isolation room at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Three health workers in Kitui County are among nine people isolated at the Kauwi Level Four Hospital over Covid-19 fears.

The medics had been in contact with a Catholic priest who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The three had been deployed to Father Nicholas Maanzo’s home in the company of police officers to examine him upon return from Italy. The priest had failed to self-quarantine.

Health chief officer Dr Richard Muthoka said the nurses and six others who came in contact with the priest at various points presented themselves voluntarily.

“So far, none of them has shown any signs of the coronavirus but we’re keeping them in isolated cubicles for 14 days,” Dr Muthoka said.

Out of the other six, two are staff from Magunas Supermarkets who served the priest when he shopped on the evening of Tuesday, March 24.

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Dr Muthoka — who was briefing journalists on plans by the county government to fumigate various towns and market centres — said CCTV footage availed by the supermarket had shown the priest indeed shopped at Magunas despite earlier denials that he found the branch closed.

“We are waiting for the CCTV footage from the Absa Bank where he withdrew money from their ATM machine the same evening. We have also established that the priest hosted a homecoming party at his home and we want all those people to come forward for testing,” Dr Muthoka said.

The county health authorities are looking for more than 50 people who may have come into contact with the cleric.

Father Maanzo, who had been on a year-long study tour in Rome, was taken ill on Sunday and rushed to the isolation centre at Mbagathi Hospital.

He tested positive for Covid-19 the following day.

He is the first case to be reported in Kitui County.

The priest had caused panic in his Kihara village community when he failed to isolate himself in line with government directives for people returning from abroad.

Police were alerted by his own family members who complained that the man of cloth was venturing out in the evening before the mandatory 14 days are over.

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