SINCE the re-opening of schools towards the end of January this year, there has been a constant increase in the number of learners testing positive for COVID-19 especially in the North.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula said the sharp increase in cases is of great concern.
The Uukule Senior Secondary School recorded four positive cases on Saturday last week.
“Usually, the virus causes a milder illness in children, though some have become severely sick. If your child doesn’t feel well, let him/her stay at home, call your doctor or go to the nearest health facility,” he said.
The minister added that a doctor should decide whether a child can be treated at home or should be admitted to the hospital.
On Sunday alone, the cases were allegedly recorded to have increased to 68 positive COVID-19 and increase from four positive cases.
The Omuthiya district on Tuesday recorded the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases among the confirmed cases are 182 learners of which 101 learners are from Ekulo Senior Secondary School.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture and other stakeholders to urgently address the increase in cases among learners,” Dr. Shangula said.
The health minister urged all school authorities, teachers, learners, and parents to assist in the fight against the further spread of COVID-19 infection in schools. He also strongly encouraged learners to strictly adhere to the existing COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures.
A statement issued by School Counsellor David Absalom said that after four cases were confirmed at the school, learners were isolated to curb the possibility of further infections. He said the four pupils are doing exceptionally well.
“Furthermore, over 185 targeted learners were isolated and tested. (this does not mean they are all infected) We await the results,” he said.
He stated that due to the big number of tested learners, only parents of positive ones will be notified.
Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Executive Director, Sanet Steenkamp said by now school management bodies are aware of the cases and should know exactly what to do.
“Everything they do or the decisions they take are in the best interest of the staff members and the safety of the learners,” she said.
Steenkamp noted that at this stage they do not close school fully, however, they close the area that is mostly affected or the grades mostly affected.
She explained that all those that are positive are immediately isolated and look at the high-risk exposure and everything is done in consultation with the Ministry of Health that is always on the ground.
“If the school does have to close it will be on the recommendation of health authorities, but if those affected are from the same class group or hostel then they are disinfected and isolated for 48 hours,” she added.