MANDERA, Kenya Oct 20 – Residents of Mandera County will no longer be waiting for their samples to be sent to Nairobi for COVID-19 tests following the launch of a testing Lab in the County on Monday.
Governor Ali Roba launched the lab at the Mandera County Referral Hospital saying it would not only test COVID-19 but also other viruses.
The county had been relying on transporting samples to Nairobi for testing since April 5 when the first case was reported, which officials said was not only costly but also led to delays in receiving the results.
“Despite all these challenges, we tested 854 people up to August 2020. It is against this background, as well as the fact that COVID-19 is not about to go away any time soon, that we partnered with KEMRI to establish a molecular Laboratory that can test not only COVID-19 but also many other viruses,” Roba said.
He added that the validation process will be conducted with the help of KEMRI which will then lead to the sharing of results through the National portal with the Ministry of Health headquarters in Nairobi.
Since September 26, Governor Roba said, a total of 90 samples have been tested for coronavirus at the Mandera Molecular Lab, with six turning positive and responding well to management and care.
This made the total tested cumulatively to 944, with 34 positive, 32 recoveries and two deaths.
Following the increase of infections, Roba urged locals to be vigilant and follow public health guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus.
He said Mandera County Government through the Ministry of Health has put in place 306 isolation beds across the County, with the Mandera Rehabilitation Isolation Center also having a 5-bed ICU dedicated to Covid-19 cases only beside other critical care facilities at Mandera County Referral Hospital and Elwak Sub-County Hospital.
“We will now redouble our efforts in prevention as we have a situation where some students have also been allowed back to school. Covid-19 is still here with us and is a threat that we should not downplay,”Roba said.
The Governor however regretted regretted that mosques have relaxed rules, with the congregation not observing the required social distancing of one meter between persons, wearing of masks and carrying own prayer mats.
“I want to caution our people that, it is in the best interest of all, that we must maintain the same level of personal protection of hand washing, wearing of mask, social distancing and no shaking hands. We must be cautious of pandemic fatigue as the Covid-19 virus will not tire.”
He said his administration will conduct robust Covid-19 prevention in all schools that have resumed learning process “and where necessary do testing of any suspected cases.”
Roba called on residents to take up personal protection as a citizen responsibility “to ensure we remain safe.”
He also urged the public to embrace testing as a way of knowing ones status and reduce transmission.
The governor hailed “great effort” of medical personnel during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it is through medical personnel effort that Mandera County reduced the spillover of cases from Somalia through heightened surveillance along the porous border, besides topping in Contact tracing nationally and also being the best among the 47 counties for Covid-19 pandemic preparedness and response as assessed.