At least nine people have been isolated at Kauwi Level Four Hospital in Kitui County after a local Catholic Priest who had flouted self-quarantine orders tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The man of the cloth identified as Nicholas Maanzo was admitted at Mbagathi Hospital’s isolation facility on Sunday after he exhibited coronavirus-like symptoms.
Among the individuals isolated are three nurses who had been deployed to Father Maanzo’s home in the company of police officers to examine him after residents spotted him at a local supermarket a day after returning home from Italy.
Also under quarantine are two supermarket attendants from Magunas Supermarket who served Father Nicholas Maanzo when he shopped on the evening of Tuesday, March 24. The four other people came in contact with the priest at various points after his trip.
Health chief officer Dr Richard Muthoka said the individuals 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.
The priest returned to Kenya from Italy through Ireland on Monday, March 23 after a one-year study tour and was a day later spotted at Magunas supermarket in Kitui town before visiting an ATM machine in the same area.
Dr Muthoka said that CCTV footage availed by the supermarket had shown that the priest 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 Officials are looking for at least 50 other people who came into contact with Maanzo.
Residents who had spotted Maanzo in the streets launched a complaint forcing the police and health medical officials to visit the priest at his home in Kihara village.
The officers interrogated Maanzo before the medical officers took his temperatures.
The priest claimed he left his house to buy food.
At the time, health officers said the priest did not show any signs of illness and was directed to self-isolate only to be taken ill a few days later.
This comes at a time the country is on a high alert after cases of COVID19 in the country rose to 110 on Thursday. Two more people passed on yesterday bringing the total number of people who have succumbed to the disease to three. Four people have fully recovered.