Covid-19 second wave steadily taking a toll on health facilities

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Mombasa county Health officials at the Covid-19 emergency unit at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital in Mombasa. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGi

Reuben Mwambingu and Kirera Mwiti 

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is increasingly taking a heavy toll on health facilities in parts of country, which are now overstretched according to authorities.

Mombasa County Director of Public Health Salma Swaleh yesterday said both public and private facilities in  the county, are either overwhelmed or are getting overwhelmed by the surging numbers.

On Friday, Dr Swaleh said Mombasa had a total of 156 Covid-19 patients admitted in various hospitals, with more than 20 being in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). More than 12 patients are in supplementary oxygen.

Overstretched capacity

This comes as some of the private hospitals, are said to have notified their clients of plans to begin discharging non-Covid-19 patients, to pave way for those who have contracted the virus.

Reports indicate that  the Covid-19 patients had begun jamming the facilities.

At the same time, it has emerged that due to overstretched capacity of most facilities, in some instances, patients with asymptomatic to mild cases of the virus, are being advised to use home remedies to manage their condition.

“The doctor has advised me to use a concoction of ginger, lemon, honey and garlic mixed in warm water three times a day.

He also advised me to ensure that  I consume lots of fruits and vegetables,” one of the subordinate staff at Tononoka Secondary School, who tested positive for the virus told People Daily on phone, adding they had been warned that “hospitals are full.”

Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital which has a 10-bed capacity for Covid-19 patients in ICU, had a total of 42 patients admitted, with eight in ICU and one on supplementary oxygen.

“Since the pandemic struck the country, a total of 54 Covid-19 patients admitted at the facility have succumbed,” stated Swaleh.

Some 75 more patients are admitted at the Shimo la Tewa facility which has so far handled 171 patients and discharged 96, according to the director.

The Shimo la Tewa facility handles cases of tested inmates.

“Only two critical cases have come out of this facility and as you are aware, the facility has no ICU, so the critical cases are transferred to other facilities for further management,” said Dr Swaleh.

At Aga Khan, a total of six patients are currently admitted. Cumulatively, the facility has so far admitted 169 patients, with 57 discharged and four succumbed.

Pandya Memorial Hospital which has cumulatively admitted 87 patients and discharged 63, currently has 11 patients admitted, four of them in ICU and three on supplementary oxygen. At Jocham hospital, 18 patients are currently admitted.  

Meanwhile, medics in Nakuru county have expressed concern over the rising cases of Covid-19 among members of staff working in different hospitals.

There are fears that this would paralyse services at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital and Naivasha sub-county hospital, which have been the hardest hit.

In total, 187 health workers in the county have tested positive with fears that this could rise.

The isolation ward at the provincial hospital is full with 28 patients, while the one in Naivasha has a full capacity of six even as the number of patients in need of supplementary oxygen continue to rise.

This came as the department of Health in the county, moved in to increase bed capacity in their isolation wards.

County Health Minister Kariuki Gichuki however denied that services at the two hospitals had been strained due to new infections.

“Of the 1,462 health care workers who have been tested for Covid-19, 187 have tested positive but operations in all the affected facilities are on track,” he said.

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