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Covid-19: Govt to convert boarding schools into isolation centers

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Monday pointed out that the country’s many boarding schools will come in handy as demand for more isolation centers grows as more people test positive for the dreaded Covid-19.

Kagwe’s remarks came after he was asked what measures the country was taking in case there will be more people in need of quarantine services as the coronavirus cases threaten to increase exponentially.

“Everything remains on the table. We are seeing other countries putting up stadiums. We have boarding schools which can take up to 300k capacity. This is our advantage. There are airport hangars too and if it is necessary we shall activate them,” said Kagwe.

On Monday, the Ministry of Education said it was working with county governments to identify at least 20 boarding schools in each county to be converted into makeshift hospitals for Covid-19 patients should the cases shoot up.

At the same time deputy president William Ruto said the boarding schools will be well equipped to be used as health facilities in case of a crisis due to the pandemic.

The directive will see the country have at least 900 schools used as isolation and treatment facilities.

“The government has directed the ministry of education to work with all county govt’s to identify at least 20 boarding schools per county to be prepared/equipped for use as health facilities as part of Covid-19 preparedness,” Ruto said in a tweet.

At the moment isolation centres have been set aside at national referral and county referral hospitals countrywide.

Ruto’s remarks on the number of schools to be identified to boost government’s preparedness for coronavirus came a day after Kagwe said the government was mapping out boarding schools and airport hangars for use as isolation facilities for coronavirus in case of high numbers.

On Sunday, the Health CS said that it was likely that the country’s health facilities can be overrun by demand.

“We need to be looking as communities in your villages what are the secondary schools, particularly boarding schools that we can begin to identify as potential areas where we can keep the sick if the situation overruns,” he said.

Kagwe said the government will also increase the number of makeshift Intensive Care Unit beds by about 1,000 from the about 400 currently.

The CS added that the World Bank had already donated 250 ventilators, and the government was trying to purchase more from abroad due to the current shortage that will cause a crising in dealing with serious Covid-19 cases.

Kenya has so far recorded one fatality as the number of people who have tested positive for the virus rose to 50 on Monday after the first case was reported in the country on March 13.