Kitui health officers trace contacts of Covid-19 positive priest

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 31 Mar, 2020 11:18 | 2 mins read
Kitui County
The first coronavirus case in Kitui county was confirmed on March 30, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY
The first coronavirus case in Kitui county was confirmed on March 30, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kitui County Health Officials are racing against time to trace at least 50 close contacts of Fr. Nicholas Maanzo who tested positive for coronavirus Monday. 

Fr. Maanzo arrived in the country on March 23 from Dublin, Ireland after a one-year study scholarship. 

The Catholic Priest sparked fears among residents in Kihara village and his Kwa Ngindu residence on Wednesday last week, when he was spotted roaming and mingling freely despite being in quarantine. 

The cleric, who was in self-isolation, defied government regulations raising fears among members of the public who reported him to the authorities. 

The public had accused the Priest of intentionally exposing them to the coronavirus since his mandatory 14 days’ quarantine were still on course.

Kitui County Chief Health Officer Dr. Richard Muthoka said mapping of the close contacts will be helpful to isolate the Priest's close contacts to curb possible spread. 

The County has isolation wards for Covid-19 cases at Kauwi Level 4 Hospital in Kitui West approximately 20 kilometers West of Kitui Town.

Dr. Muthoka said that if the contacts are not quarantined, Kitui might become another hot spot for the deadly virus after Nairobi. 

 “We have requested for CCTV footage from the places he visited including the ATM at Absa bank and supermarkets for review and possible tracing,” he said. 

The medic appealed to residents who may have interacted with the cleric to come forward for screening and isolation. 

At the same time, Dr. Muthoka said that the Priest's two workers have been quarantined with immediate effect and are helping trace other close contacts. 

Before being referred to Mbagathi on Saturday night after developing coronavirus symptoms, the police led by Kitui Central Sub-County Criminal Investigations Officer Nzioka Singi had reprimanded Father Maanzo for flouting quarantine regulations. 

“I had stepped out of my house to buy food supplies and I did not know that I was endangering the lives of my community members,” said the soft-spoken cleric who is in his 60s. 

In his Kwa Ngindu area, the County Health Officers assured the community of continued surveillance and monitoring to wipe out the coronavirus threat. 

The officials urged wananchi to observe cleanliness, regular handwashing with soap to break the coronavirus chain