298 county health workers contract Covid in a fortnight
Noah Cheploen, Yusuf Masibo and Reuben Nwambingu
A total of 298 healthcare workers have contracted the coronavirus disease in the last two weeks as the country continues to witness a surge in infections, the Council of Governors said yesterday
Presenting the weekly county status report, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said the affected healthcare workers are receiving treatment in various hospitals adding that 246 patients are currently admitted while 134 have been discharged.
In Mombasa, health officials in Mombasa yesterday warned that they could have lost track of a significant number of Covid-19 cases in the county as a result of false contact information.
County Chief Officer of Public health Pauline Oginga said some of the persons tested either provided false information or switched off their phones, making it difficult to contact them in case their results turned positive.
As a result, the Chief officer said, they are now working closely with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to help in contact tracing.
The shocking revelation came as another 602 Kenyans tested positive for covid-19 yesterday, two less than the number of those who contracted the virus on Wednesday.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said of the 602 cases, Nairobi had 103 positive tests followed by Nakuru (47), Uasin Gishu (47), Kilifi (46), Mombasa (44) among others, continuing a worrying trend with health experts warning that the country could be staring at a second wave of infections if the situation is not addressed.
Kagwe also revealed that eight persons had died from the disease during the last 24 hours while 80 had recovered.
Releasing the weekly county status update, Oparanya warned the virus was still active and spreading and urged Kenyans to strictly observe the protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health to avert a resurgence of the disease which has so far killed 805 people locally as of Wednesday.
Said the Kakamega Governor: “This is an indication that the virus is still here with us and therefore we must continue observing the set guidelines,” he said, adding: “We encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and implement the health guidelines put in place to avoid resurgence.”
He said that 4,860 healthcare workers and 8,602 community health volunteers have so far been trained in 43 counties on Covid-19 management and response.
Cumulatively, 113,070 healthcare workers and 94,231 community health volunteers have been trained and sensitised, he said.
Oparanya noted that 34 out of the 47 counties have functional quarantine facilities adding that governors have put in place interventions that are geared towards stopping the spread of the virus.
He made the remarks as it emerged that Nakuru County government workers had been asked to stay at home for 14 days after more workers contracted the virus.
On Wednesday, a cleaner collapsed and died outside the county offices after complaining of chest pain and breathing difficulties.
The incident, which has triggered fear and uncertainties at the county headquarters, happened on a day the county reported a record 113 new cases.
Some of these interventions include establishing quarantine facilities, testing, training and sensitising healthcare workers and community volunteers, and implementation of home-based care.
He said 1,056 patients are currently under home-based care programmes in 34 counties while 6,665 people have been discharged after recovering from the disease.
While a surge has been witnessed in Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa, the CoG boss said 16 counties have not reported a case in the last two weeks. “On a positive note, a significant number of Covid-19 patients have recovered,” he said.
“This has been achieved through concerted effort of both level of government and healthcare workers who have remained committed in this course,” he added.
According to him, testing remains the biggest challenge in the fight against coronavirus noting that 3,700 truck drivers have been stranded at the Malaba and Busia border points because of lack of reagents and testing kits.
“We also note that there has been laxity in the implementation of the Covid-19 regulations among the matatu operators and users.”
Noting that the coronavirus pandemic was a threat to national food security, Oparanya thanked President Kenyatta for recent interventions saying this will go a long way in protecting farmers particularly maize growers.
Meanwhile, Bungoma Wycliffe Wangamati has moved into voluntary isolation after an outbreak of coronavirus rocked the core of his government—the cabinet—as reports emerged that at least three senior officers tested positive last week.
In a press statement, CEC for Health Antony Walela allayed fears that Governor Wangamati had contracted the disease saying he is “well and healthy” adding that he had been advised to self-isolate as a precaution.
“Staff in the governor’s office are taking voluntary Covid-19 tests and we are encouraging other workers to take the tests just as a precaution,” said Walela.
He said that staff that had shown symptoms of the disease were under strict monitoring adding that they are waiting for results from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).
Walela further said that essential service providers will be required to report to duty noting that county offices will remain open.
Bungoma has witnessed a spike in the number of coronavirus cases with 118 prisoners having contracted the disease in a single day.