COVID -19 started in Wuhan City in China in December 2019. As of today 18th March, 2020, the disease has spread to every country in the world. Kenya has just announced confirmation of seven (7) cases so far. No case has been confirmed in Tharaka Nithi County up to now.

This disease is spread through droplet transfer from an infected person to an otherwise healthy person, either through coughing, sneezing, body contact, hand shaking and being too close to one another. The infected person may complain of feeling hot in the body (fever), headache, and muscle pains, coughing, sneezing and feeling weak. There is no vaccine or drugs to cure this disease, because it is caused by a virus.

It is very important for us to prevent ourselves from getting infected by COVID-19. Prevention involves frequent washing of hands with soap and water, use alcohol based (70%) sanitizers to rub on our hands until they dry, if water is unavailable. Avoid congregating in crowds of people and observing a distance of 6ft between each other, coughing and sneezing into tissues or inner part of our elbows, avoid touching our faces, mouths, eyes and noses and staying at our houses when we have a cough or sneezing to prevent spread of the infection. If sickness is severe, one can call our Tharaka Nithi Toll free number 1513 to be directed on how one can be assisted. The measures outlined above have been recommended by the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health in Kenya, and the Council of Governors (COG) so far.

So far Tharaka Nithi County has:

• Constituted County Emergency Response Committee whose chair is H.E. Hon. Muthomi Njuki Governor of Tharaka Nithi County.

• Our Laboratory Technologist has undergone training to be able to collect samples from sick people and is expected to be a trainer of others in the county.
• Our physicians will undergo training on identification and management of patients and cascade the skill to other clinicians.
• Tharaka Nithi County has acquired some Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs).
• Set aside isolation wards at Chuka, Marimanti, Magutuni and Kibung’a Hospitals. Our Faith Based and Private Hospitals have also been asked to set aside isolation wards in their facilities.
• The County has erected hand washing facilities in all mapped areas within the county and work is still ongoing; we have also distributed sanitizers to all the public offices and facilities including the county assembly.
• Further the County Government of Tharaka Nithi has distributed information, educational and communication material to all parts of this county.
• Tharaka Nithi County Public Health Officers are doing door to door sensitization on the disease.
To complement the measures taken above, Tharaka Nithi County has decided to:-

1. Ban all gathering of people in the county. This includes market places, Bars, Clubs, Churches and social drinking places, weddings, funerals among others.
2. Encourage people to work from home and decongest the work places unless one offering essential services or attending to emergency.
3. Encourage everyone to maintain personal hygiene including hand washing and sanitizing/disinfecting of frequently used items line phones, pens, doors surface among others.
4. Market day’s gatherings. (Daily markets remain but must sanitize and maintain 2, meters distances, use protective masks all the time)
5. All video and Miraa dens (this is where people gather to chew Miraa and listen to music) must be closed. Buy and go chew at home
6. All celebrations parties mustn’t take place during this season.
7. Funerals should be reduced to only family members and very close friends and to be done in the open.
8. All business premises offering goods and services must have Alcohol based sanitizer or clean water and soap for washing hands.
9. Request our security team to minimize custody of petty offenders to decongest our remand cells but instead embrace cash bills paid via mobile money transfers.
10. All open-air food hawking will continue, with hawkers providing sanitizers, keeping two metres apart and the person hawking and sanitizing must be different.
11. I have also directed that all our 1000 CHVs be provided with several sets of gloves and protective masks so as to continue visiting wananchi during this vulnerable time.
12. Only referral and serious cases to Chuka and Marimanti General hospital, patients should be encouraged to use or health centers and dispensaries to decongest the referral facility.



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