KISUMU, Kenya, Mar 23 – Health officials in Siaya County Monday launched a search for an unknown number of people who interacted with a Catholic priest who recently returned from Rome and had since tested positive for coronavirus.
He is among the fifteen confirmed cases in the country after the health ministry Sunday announced eight more cases.
Siaya County Commissioner Michael Oletialal Monday said the priest visited several areas once he touched down at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“The priest landed in the country on March 11 and spent the night in Utawala, Nairobi, before proceeding to Ambira on March 13,” he said.
Oletialal said the priest presided over a burial in his village of Ambira.
He said health officials are now combing through the village to have everyone who met him quarantined and subsequently tested.
The Commissioner said the priest in question presided over a mass during the burial of a village mate on March 14.
It is reported area MP Opiyo Wandayi attended the burial.
The priest is also reported to have visited his colleagues at Lwak Convent.
“He later proceeded to Lwak Convent where he had time with the Sisters at the Convent,” he said.
Oletialal appealed to anyone who came into contact with the priest during his stint in Siaya to come out, be quarantined and get tested.
“The health officials and security apparatus is in the villages in Siaya where the priests is suspected to have visited, it is my appeal to the people of Siaya to volunteer and come out in case they had contact with this priest,” he pleaded.
Those who have been lined up for tests include his immediate family members, a priest in Sega where he spent a night, nuns at Lwak Convent where he visited and mourners who attended the burial.
Oletialal further announced that the health officials were also tracking down a resident of Ngiya in Siaya who is reported to have returned to the country from India before visiting Tanzania.
He said the officers will ensure the person is tested and quarantined for the 14 days mandatory.
“Once we get this person, we would like also to ensure that anybody who had contact with him are tested immediately,” the administrator said.
Meanwhile, Kisumu Centre for Disease Control managed by Kenya Medical Research Centre will run necessary tests for those meeting the case definition at a facility located in Kisian.
The Centre is one of the 5 centers now offering COVID-19 diagnostic services.
It will serve Western, Nyanza and South Rift areas.