The management of Shalom Hospital has spoken out, following reports that the facility was closed after a number of Covid-19 patients died in the facility.
In a statement, the management admitted that a total of eight people suspected of having Covid-19 visited the facility, and were tested with six turning positive.
“Following this development, the hospital has resorted to testing all our staff and patients who might have come into close contact with these patients, especially the asymptomatic patients. A total of nineteen staff have been tested and one has unfortunately tested positive. All the suspected cases were treated within the isolation ward (pending release of results) and with no contact with the rest of the patients. Some patients developed symptoms while in the general ward and isolated immediately,” said Dr Hellen Omari from the hospital.
According to Dr Omari, three patients who were in critical conditions died while their referrals were being processed, due to the shortage of ICU beds in the country.
“As Level IV hospital, we do not have Intensive Care Facilities (ICU). We have been referring the critical cases to advanced public and private hospitals. Unfortunately, there has been a challenge with such referrals owing to constrained ICU facilities countrywide. This situation has regrettably resulted in 3 fatalities as the referral cases are being processed,” added Dr Omari.
In another statement, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) said that the hospital had been sealed off to test those inside the facility, before being converted into a quarantine and isolation facility.
“Shalom Hospital in Athi River has not been closed. The Hospital has only been sealed off for now, to allow for Testing of Covid-19 for those currently at the facility. The testing is to ensure that the safety of health workers and Patients who are still receiving treatment at the facility is not compromised. The Hospital will serve as a quarantine and isolation facility once all the guidelines for isolation have been met. A team from the Council has already been sent to the facility to assess it for the same,” said Daniel Yumbya, KMPDC CEO.
However, a senior personnel from the hospital who spoke to Kahawa Tungu intimated that the situation is dire at the hospital, since the staff who were in the hospital had spent 36 hours without rest in the facility.
“Yesterday (Saturday) staff reported in the morning ready for mass testing. They waited all day and nobody was allowed in even after we received a letter from the medical board that we will be allowed to relieve our staff who had worked 24 hours. Only staff from the county government were allowed. They were testing people from inside and they carried the samples,” said a senior staff in the hospital.
As of today (Sunday) 3pm, the staff who have been in the facility since Friday had not been relieved, and those who showed up for mass testing had not been allowed in, in compliance with “orders from above.
“We have 125 patients admitted and only 30 staffs who are now past 36 hours attending to patients! We are not allowed to give supplies or consumables! We are worried,” added the staffer.
According to the Machakos governor Dr Alfred Mutua, the patients might have contracted the deadly disease while at the facility.