“I was taken to Mbagathi hospital and admitted that Friday Night; samples were taken on Saturday and the results came out at around 11 a.m. on Sunday,” Fr. Richard recounted.
He was later transferred to Kenyatta hospital, Kenya’s oldest and largest health facility that serves as the referral hospital for the Ministry of Health and the teaching hospital of the University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences.
“Regarding treatment, I was told there is none but I would be given medical support and my immune system would be able to fight it,” Fr. Richard said, adding that he has been taking “Paracetamols” and remaining in isolation since March 22.
“As from today, I was told since I had no signs, there is no need to take Paracetamols and they were dropped,” Fr. Richard who has been a priest since May 2018 told ACI Africa March 26, adding that he has also been given vitamin C and antiobiotics.
The Governor of Siaya County, Cornel Rasanga has been quoted as confirming that eight people suspected to have interacted with Fr. Richard during the funeral have tested negative for COVID-19.
(Story continues below)
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"The two cases of Utawala, the Priest there received a message from the Ministry of Health that they were all negative," Fr. Richard said referencing Fr. Bosco who hosted him when he arrived from Rome and the cook who used to bring him food.
He recalls having had a nine-hour interaction with a priest friend on March 14, including driving in the same vehicle to the funeral and participating in the burial ceremony, but the priest has not exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19.
Considering the social interactions Fr. Richard had during his three-day stay at his ancestral home within Siaya County, the Archbishop of Kisumu, Philip Anyolo has called upon “Priests, Religious Men & Women, and Lay Faithful who attended the burial in Ugunja on 14th March 2020 to heed the call by the Ministry of Health to self-quarantine and subsequently seek medical attention in case of distress.”
“We should desist from stigmatization and misinformation since nobody knowingly puts the other in danger in regard to this pandemic,” Archbishop Anyolo who doubles as the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) stated in his March 25 pastoral message.
“I think the best thing will be to cooperate with them, finish the treatment,” Fr. Richard told ACI Africa referencing Kenya’s Ministry of Health and added, “There is a lot going on but the best thing is to forget about it and concentrate on my healing process.”
“I am in touch with my Bishop and he is very supportive,” the cleric of Torit diocese in South Sudan said referencing Archbishop Stephen Ameyu who was installed as the Local Ordinary of Juba Archdiocese March 22 and appointed the Apostolic Administrator of Torit.
The official estimated incubation period for COVID-19 is 2-14 days. Fr. Richard’s narrative of his experience with the doctor and the subsequent media reports seem to put to question Kenya’s capacity to test for COVID-19, which is part of the measures required to control the spread of this deadly virus that has more than 383,000 confirmed cases globally.
WHO has been keen to support African governments, since the start of the outbreak, "with early detection by providing thousands of COVID-19 testing kits to countries, training dozens of health workers and strengthening surveillance in communities"
"Forty-seven countries in the WHO African region can now test for COVID-19. At the start of the outbreak only two could do so," WHO has reported.
Magdalene Kahiu contributed to the writing of this news report
Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla is ACI Africa’s founding Editor-in-Chief. He was formed in the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), and later incardinated in Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan. He has a PhD in Media Studies from Daystar University in Kenya, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Marist College, New York, USA.