Kenyans have been urged to continue adhering to strict Covid 19 protocol measures to contain further spread of the viral disease after the country recorded the second highest number of fresh infections.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr, Mercy Mwangangi decried that 24 new cases were confirmed last Saturday pushing the national figure to 435 because many Kenyans were getting back to their work stations without observing safety measures.
“we have observed that our people are slowly beginning to behave in a manner suggesting that the threat posed by Coronavirus is behind us. We have seen many people getting back to workplaces despite our appeals to employers to allow some of their employees to work from home. Human and vehicle traffic in Nairobi has returned back to its normal. This is a dangerous trend.”, the CAS said
Speaking during the corona virus update at Afya house, Dr, Mercy Mwangangi said that its disturbing to learn that measures that were placed to contain the highly contagious disease were ignored
Dr. Mwangangi warned that Business outlets such as cyber cafes, butcheries, take away shops, markets, salons and barber shops who have gone back to operate as if these are normal times should know that the disease is still with us and must therefore strictly observe the measures as outlined by the Ministry of Health, failure of which such facilities shall be closed.
“I am also reminding Kenyans that this war is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and we must be psychologically prepared for it”, she said.
The CAS explained that targeted testing approach is showing that Corona virus disease is now firmly rooted within our communities and this is confirmed by the numbers recorded in the initial days of the mass and targeted exercise
“In order to break the cycle of transmission within our communities, we must strictly observe the containment measures, particularly of social distancing that we have persistently advocated for. If we don’t adhere to these measures, this disease will spread very quickly within our communities”, she warned.
Dr. Mwangangi gave an example where yesterday after the testing team was in Kawangware for the exercise, seven new cases were confirmed, a testament that the virus is now domiciled within us.
In the last 24 hours, the CAS said that out of 1,195 sample tests done, twenty four (24) people have tested positive for coronavirus, the highest number of positive cases that has been recorded since the first case reported .
“Out of these cases, seven as already indicated, are from Kawangware and this brings to 20 the total number of positive cases in that area”, she said adding that ten cases are from Eastleigh, bringing the total number in the area to 21, while five are from Mombasa bringing the total number in Mombasa to 129. The last two cases are from Kuria West, Migori County and the two have had a recent history of travel from Tanzania.
In today’s case, the five cases in Mombasa are from Mikindani which has 2 cases, Mwembe Tayari (2) cases and Shimanzi one (1) case bringing now the total number of positive cases in the country to 435.
The age brackets of the new cases , she added are; 1-19 years of age are 4, 20-39 years of age are 14, 40-60 years are 6 and in terms of gender, ten (10) are males and fourteen (14) females.
Today, the CAS said the Country has also lost one more patient , a 51 year old woman from Mombasa who had been admitted in hospital on April 27th 2020 with an underlying condition and this now brings the number of fatalities to 22
On a more positive note, Dr, Mwangangi reported that there were two discharges who tested negative on two different occasions after treatment and his brings the total number of recoveries now at 152.
She noted that in light of the anticipated surge in numbers, there is need to begin serious conversations around the issue of quarantine system, including the possibility of home-quarantine for those who are able noting that the ministry will issuing specific guidelines on this, in due course.
Dr. Mwangangi has also said that Kenya being part of the East Africa Community is holding discussions with member states to come up with mechanisms on screening at the border points to ensure cross border travel where all are protected.
She has also gone further and urged Kenyans who are sick to continue seeking medical services in hospitals noting that hospitals are recording abnormally low visitations by the sick.
“In ordinary circumstances, we would be delighted about this. These, however, are not ordinary times. We know we have sick people amongst us, and we urge them to seek medical assistance in our facilities”, Dr. Mwangangi said.
Ag. Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth explained that the cases from Kawangware where 20 people have so far been confirmed is that 12 out of these cases were traced from one single individual who used to work at the Ministry of Health emergency operation centre.
“This individual passed the infection to 6 primary contacts, they in turn went to 5 secondary contacts bringing the number to 12 people linked to this case”, he said adding that the case of Kilifi index had 5 primary contacts one secondary and one tertiary contact even after 14 days’ mandatory period had already passed.
“This is the more reason why we are saying that quarantine and isolation units should be identified so that those who have not been tested yet can be quarantined to stop the transmissions”, Dr. Amoth said.
He however said that out of the 214 patients who are spread across hospitals in the country, only one is in critical condition at the Kenyatta University Referral Hospital saying the other 213 patients are in stable condition and that the government was hopeful they will continue to do well and be discharged out of the facilities.
Further on a positive note, Dr. Amoth said that a new antiviral drug treatment by the name REMDESIVIR authorized by the US for emergency use on coronavirus patients has helped in faster recovery.
He explained that the drug which was tried on 1063 trials with the primary end point showing that 31 percent of the number showed recovery compared to the normal treatment had also been tried for Ebola virus
“This however should not be a silver bullet despite being approved. It can only be given through infusion and is relatively also expensive but in a case of Kenya where we have mild cases it can be deployed but in a small fraction”, Dr. Amoth explained
On the hotels that were allowed to open but with strict guidelines, Dr, Amoth warned the hotel and eateries to observe the protocol and guidelines given saying that that random inspection will be conducted to ensure that they had adhered to governments guidelines and if found not to, their premises will be closed and they will also face the full force of the law.
By Wangari Ndirangu