'I'm glad that the priest's movement has prompted some of the residents who interacted with him to volunteer for screening'
More than 60 individuals in Siaya have surrendered for Covid-19 testing after coming into contact with a priest who tested positive for the virus on Sunday.
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and county commissioner Michael ole Tialal in a joint briefing on Tuesday said the individuals had been put in self-quarantine.
Rasanga said they have also identified six suspected cases in Ugunja whose samples were taken to Kemri laboratories in Kisumu for testing.
"There is also one suspected case in Ukwala that the health department has taken his samples to Kisumu for testing," Rasanga said.
There has been panic and fear in both Siaya and Kisumu counties after Catholic priest Fr Richard Oduor travelled from Italy and attended a funeral in Ugunja.
The priest visited a Kisumu hotel and is believed to have interacted with people at the funeral and in Sega, Ugenya.
Rasanga said Oduor travelled to Siaya on March 13 and attended the funeral in Ugunja before proceeding to conduct a mass in Jera and Sihayi Catholic churches.
Rasanga said having assessed the situation, they were asking all residents who might have come in contact with the priest to present themselves for screening to curb further spread of the virus.
"I'm glad that the priest's movement has prompted some of the residents who interacted with him to volunteer for screening," Rasanga said.
He said the county had taken action to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19 by dispatching a team of medical professionals to Ugunja and Ugenya subcounties.
"So far, the team has already conducted screening to the priest's family and neighbours," the governor said.
He urged residents to call the toll free emergency number 0800721546 to get medical attention and make contact-tracing easier.
Rasanga said the health team is on standby while the other team moves around to arrest the situation.
He said weddings, night vigils, discos, and birthday parties have been banned and that all bars and churches must remain closed as was ordered by the national government.
All public vehicles must adhere to the government directive of carrying less passengers to ensure social distancing.
"So far we have two isolation centres at Siaya Medical Training Centre and Bondo Medical Training Centre," Rasanga said.
The governor directed that all county vehicles be reassigned to the health department for timely and adequate response.
edited by peter obuya