Corona viruses are a large group of viruses most of which cause none or minor illnesses, like the common cold. Some cause illness in people, and others only infect animals.

The new (novel) corona virus is officially called Coronavirus Disease-2019 or COVID-19 (because it was first detected in 2019). COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a new coronavirus that has not previously been seen in human beings.

The World Health Organization gave a name to the disease that was causing an outbreak from the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan China in 2019. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Previously the disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

Older people and people of all ages with severe existing health conditions are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. These conditions include diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDs, hypertension among others.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear from 2−14 days (incubation period) after contact with an infected person and may range from mild to severe illness. It has been found that about half of people with the disease do not show any signs of infection, therefore everyone is encouraged to take precaution to protect themselves.

One requires a specific test conducted in a health facility or specialized laboratory to confirm if they have the virus. Testing is performed on a blood sample. Currently, testing can be done in 16 laboratories in Kenya, which you can find out by calling a county hotline (Dora provide these).

A negative test result for a person with or without symptoms means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness. One has to wait for their results as there are no approved simple rapid tests for COVID-19 infection at present.

The only way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. Some measures one can take to prevent the disease include:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then properly dispose of the tissue.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  5. Alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands first with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  7. Reduce handshaking

Currently, there is no evidence to support infection of COVID-19 through with food.

However, if the one handling food touches them with infected hands they can pass the virus. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. People handling food should, throughout the day, use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

People who pack food, like packaging containers, can pass the virus if they transfer the virus on it so they must take extra caution to wear protective equipment and cough or sneeze into their elbows away from the food and packaging.

Yes, health facilities are open and health workers are available to provide care to clients.

Anyone who needs services is encouraged to visit a health facility near them. If anyone is affected by the curfew rules which limit movement at certain times and in some area of the country, they should seek assistance from the nearest community health worker, health facility or Chief to guide them on how to reach their usual services.

Pregnant women, women who need to deliver and parents of children who need immunization services should not stop because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Health facilities around the country are taking every precaution to ensure they are safe for patients to receive quality care without infection. Even before the COVID19 outbreak facilities had in place very good measures to prevent infections. Even in facilities that are handling COVID19 patients, contact between people is being avoided. Therefore, people should continue to seek care in health facilities.

Unfortunately, it’s still too early to draw many solid conclusions about how the novel coronavirus affects pregnant women and their babies. But, physicians and researchers continue to observe and collect anecdotal evidence – and in the meantime, hospitals are advised to put in protections like limiting visitor policies out of an abundance of caution.

So far there hasn't been any indications that COVID-19 can be transmitted to an unborn baby. After birth, we know that transmission is possible if there’s exposure to a COVID-19-positive caregiver, including the mother.

People should not touch the body of someone who has died of COVID-19 to reduce chances of the virus spreading from touching. Other activities, such as kissing, washing, and shrouding should be avoided before, during, and after the body has been prepared. Health personnel are trained to handle and assist with burial of dead persons to avoid any infections.

The Chairman Council of Governors gives weekly press statements to update on the Status of Covid-19 in the Counties. Please find the link to all Press Statements here.

Below are some of the key activities that most of the Counties have embarked on to sensitize the members of the public:

  • Radio interviews
  • Radio adverts and presenter mentions
  • Weekly Press briefings by the Governor on various interventions
  • Mobile public address system moving in the sub-counties and common spaces sensitizing members of the public
  • Informational videos with key message to County residents
  • Provision of response center hotline numbers
  • Other Counties have gone further to educate the public through the Community Health Workers on the symptoms, preventive measures and control of the Corona Virus.
© 2020. Maarifa Centre - A Initiative of The Council of Governors (CoG).