April 11, 2020

Gicumbi District Confirms 6 Coronavirus Cases, People Infected are Identified


Gicumbi district (in dark red) borders Uganda and home to Gatuna border, one of Rwanda’s entry points

CORRECTION: The Director of Gicumbi Hospital is not among people infected by COVID-19, as reported in previous version of the text. Instead, it is a driver attached to the district headquarters

Officials in Gicumbi district bordering Uganda, are frantically looking for people who may have come into contact with manager of a bank branch who is infected by the COVID-19 virus.

Ndayambaje Felix, the mayor of Gicumbi district says branch manager for I&M Bank has tested positive, and medical officials are tracing everyone who may have come into contact with the manager, or to report themselves.

“Whether it is a family member, house-help or workmate who remembers being in face to face contact with I&M Bank Gicumbi branch manager, please call us immediately,” said the mayor on a local community broadcaster this Saturday.

He added: “Do not come to hospital or go to any other place, stay at home. Just call us…. and a qualified team will come pick you from home.”

Mayor Ndayambaje also said so far, six (6) people have tested positive to the deadly virus in the district. These 6 are among the 118 national total of confirmed cases so far, of whom 18 have recovered as of this Saturday. No deaths.

It is the first time we are getting to know of cases from regions, as the health ministry has not been giving such details.

Ndayambaje also said among confirmed cases in his area are a driver attached to the district headquarters, and another person quarantined after he arrived at Gatuna (Rwanda-Uganda) border from regional travel.

Currently, officials are having to explain to the population that identifying the people who have tested positive, is not abusing their right to medical confidentiality, but aimed at sensitising people who remember coming into contact with those infected, to report themselves. Campaigners globally say naming the patients, unless they agree, exposes them and their families to societal stigma, even after they recover.

The Health Minister Dr Daniel Ngamije said Saturday that everyone has responsibility to lookout for everyone, and urge that person showing Coronavirus signs and symptoms to call 114 toll Free number immediately.

He also said the issue of doctor-patient confidentiality will remain a norm, but when it comes to COVID-19 pandemic, government would do everything possible to curtail spread of the virus.

Back in Gicumbi, the mayor there said: “We are aware of issue of patient confidentiality. However, the pandemic we are dealing with is not a joking matter. We are naming infected patients so that when you hear about the person, you report yourself immediately.”

Gicumbi district, like all regions, has what have been called as ‘command post’, which are manned 24 hours charged with ensuring the virus doesn’t reach their region. Suspected cases are quarantined in specific locations, and if confirmed after testing, they are moved to Kanyinya Health Center, which is the COVID-19 treatment center, located about 10km outside Kigali.

As confirmed cases grow, government says it is preparing other facilities, yet to be named.

The entire country is currently on total lockdown since March 15, up to April 19. The border is closed and airspace only left for cargo flights.

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