Amoth plays down reduced Covid cases in hotspot areas
George Kebaso @Morarak
The 13 counties under partial lockdown yesterday posted a combined 38 positive cases out of the national 185.
This contributed to the positivity rate of nine per cent from the 7.3 recorded on Sunday.
Out of the cases, Bungoma had the highest infections at 25, Kakamega (seven), Homa Bay (five), Kericho (two) and Kisii (one).Other counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Bomet, Nyamira, Busia and Trans Nzoia did not report any positive cases.
Acting Health Director General, Dr Patrick Amoth, has, however, downplayed yesterday’s low infections, attributing it to the low number of tests often conducted at the weekends and the recent measures in the could have played a big role.
“With the measures we put in place, we have seen admissions going down. We believe that in the next one week to two, the situation is going to normalise,” he said.
Amoth further noted that if well embraced, the health measures will protect the country in general from the predicted fourth wave or even delay it.
A study by the Kenya Medical Research Institute projected an additional 4,300 hospitalisations and 580 deaths from the Delta variant.
In the report released on Thursday last week, experts also projected that the fourth wave is imminent in the Coastal region and Nairobi, and is already causing a surge in Nyanza and Western.
“Kenya is likely to experience a fourth Covid-19 wave from mid-July fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant,” they said.
Yesterday, Amoth validated this study, saying the highly transmissible variant - first detected in India - was now gaining dominance over the Alpha variant.
“A wave means increase in numbers. Here is a surge in number, people admitted into wards, with increase in admissions mortalities will also increase considerably,” he said.
Delta variant is said to have fuelled the third wave, especially in the Western and Nyanza regions.
Yesterday’s update by the Ministry of Health showed that the new cases were detected from 2,047 samples tested.
Positivity rate has averaged 7 per cent in the last week. Statistics also show that there were 15 deaths that occurred on diverse dates in the months of June, but were reported late. It raised the fatality toll to 3,690.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the recovery toll rose to 128,811 after 1,186 patients were cleared, including 84 who were discharged from various health facilities countrywide.
Kenya has accelerated the Covid-19 vaccination exercise since March 5 after receiving 1.02 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax facility.
By yesterday, the uptake of the second dose by priority groups was as follows: aged 58 years and above 142,676, health workers 90,954, teachers 62,724, others 128,004, while security officers were at 35,415.
National Covid-19 Vaccines deployment Taskforce chairman, Dr Willis Akhwale last evening called on Kenyans to look at the 1.77 per cent adult population vaccinated against Covid-19 as a major stride towards meeting a target of immunising 26 million elderly Kenyans in December 2022.
He said even if the situation looks like the country is lagging behind for posting a slow start, it is going to rise with the expected entry of two new vaccines.
Johnson & Johnson, which is expected in August, he said, will increase the numbers under vaccination quickly.
“If we manage to hit 520, 000 in the next few days, we will start to see the projection that at the end of the first quarter of next year as a moment when we would have covered 60 per cent of the vaccinations,” he said.
Akhwale also said at 1.76 per cent of the adult population that has been vaccinated, it brings Kenya into the regional map as a country that is doing well in the vaccination programme when other countries in the continent are not even at one per cent.
“By September we will be at five per cent of those vaccinated. We have projected 10 per cent coverage by December,” Akhwale said.
He noted that in the next few days, a team will hit the ground running with education on vaccines, and the need to be vaccinated.