September 26, 2023

COVID 19: Panic Grips Lamu Island After A Reported Case

Lamu Island. Image ZUBEIR ATHMAN

MCK Project 2


While about 40 counties are staggering under the COVID 19 attack in the country, the first case in Lamu County has sparked unprecedented panic and fears among the residents.
The Sunday, June 28, announcement during the regular Ministry of Health daily briefs, was met with utter disbelief as two cases were recorded at Langoni and Kashmir areas of the Lamu Old Town.
Lamu was one of the few counties that had not yet recorded any case of the dreaded disease which is ravaging the entire world since the first case was reported from Wuhan in Chine in December last year.
The archipelago, declared by UNESCO as a global monument, received the news in shock of however, COVID 19 found its way there after fighting tooth and nail to protect itself from its immediate neighbours.
Health authorities indicate that the two cases there involved asymptomatic patients with one having a travel history from hard hit counties of Mombasa and Kilifi.

Anne Gathoni, County Health Executive (CEC), confirmed collecting samples from 98 residents on June 27 before sending to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Kilifi for testing out of which the two were found positive.

Those identified with the virus were two male casual workers aged 22 and 27 from Langoni and Kashmir before they were quarantined for healthcare and are said to be in stable condition.
“Physically, our cases are okay but isolation. We’re looking at ways on how best to introduce home based care for patients found suffering from this disease here,” she said.

According to her a total of 113 locals in Lamu, including health workers and hoteliers, have been tested in the past four months since the outbreak was announced on March 13 in the country.

Lamu residents going about their business. Image: ZUBEIR ATHMAN

The residents have been advised to take all health directives seriously to help curb the spread of coronavirus within and without the county.

Lamu County Commissioner and County COVID 19 Taskforce chair Irungu Macharia said a multi-agency team was already tracing of all possible contacts of the two cases.

Because of the cases, residents are now pleading with their county government to set up Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facilities to deal with serious cases of those suffering from dreadful disease.
Ahmed Nizar, an elder, questioned the level of preparedness alleging that the county government was yet in position to deal with other ailments which have proved to be a hustle in healthcare services.

“We don’t have a single ICU in the entire County health facilities. Are we ready to deal with COVID 19” he posed claiming disasters await them if the disease takes a spike there.
Another resident, Omar Makka, complained that the cessation imposed their Kilifi neighbour was hurriedly lifted to the detriment of Lamu.

Donkeys roaming in Lamu Island. Image: ZUBEIR ATHMAN

He is concerned the situation might get out of hand if people from Kilifi and Mombasa will continue to flock to the county Lamu on daily basis without stringent measures put in place to effectively screened and tested them.

“People from the two counties are in and out of our county without proper screening and testing and this could have untold repercussions,” he said.

Primitive cultures among some communities have been cited as possibilities of rendering ineffective the fight against the spread of COVID 19 that should concern the County taskforce to address.

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