By Albert Nyawawa
What began with one member of staff testing positive for Covid-19 at the Public Service Commission (PSC) a week before the end of June has quickly escalated into a real health scare at the civil service body and now ten members of staff have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Public Service Commission.
A single asymptomatic worker had taken a voluntary test at KEMRI the week preceding July 1, and thereafter reported to work oblivious of the results before interacting with 8 other members of staff.
KEMRI results of returned positive for the worker, spreading panic at the commission. “The Commission quickly engaged the services of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) health department with a view of testing for Covid-19 everyone who works at the PSC,” a source who cannot be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media told this reporter.
In the first cycle of tests done early in July 2020, a total of two hundred and four Commission employees were subsequently tested for Covid-19.
On July 7 and July 8, another batch of seventy-one PSC employees were similarly tested for Covid-19 by the NMS health care teams deployed to Commission House along Harambee Avenue.
Those tested for coronavirus included the eight members of staff who had made contact with the staffer whose results by KEMRI had initially returned positive throwing the public service employer into panic. The eight were the first to receive instructions from the commission to proceed on self-quarantine.
It is these tests that revealed ten members of staff had been infected with the novel coronavirus even as members of staff began to receive results of their tests individually.
The Commission through a memo by the CEO then made the communication that PSC premises at Commission House, Harambee Avenue would be under lock down and out of bounds for non-essential staff for ten days.
According to sources who spoke to The Times, all staff except the caretaker and security were asked to proceed on compulsory self-quarantine for two weeks starting Monday July 13 till Friday July 24.
Provision was however made by the commission for those who tested positive for Covid-19 to present their families for testing and counseling by the NMS health teams.
The cases at PSC points to a growing concern by the Ministry of Health that a number city residents and employees working for various organizations in the city are asymptomatic agents of Covid-19.
It also points to the fact that many City residents are now carrying the disease and spreading it unknowingly as social distancing restrictions come under poor implementation in the public service transport system as well as in shared public areas around the city.