Kinyanjui allays fears on Nakuru coronavirus spike
Noah Cheploen and Reuben Mwambingu
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has attributed the spike in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases to enhanced testing, dismissing claims the region had become the new epicentre.
Addressing the press yesterday, Kinyanjui sought to allay fears that the situation in Nakuru County could be getting worse saying that unlike other counties that slowed down or abandoned testing altogether, his had instead upped the testing capabilities.
He said that his administration had embarked on targeted testing in at least seven sub-counties where samples were taken from healthy members of the society.
“We used to test about 1,000 people per week but we have doubled the number to weekly tests of 2,500,” he said.
For instance, Nakuru CEC for Health Kariuki Gichuki said that the county contributed 10 per cent of total samples tested nationally on Sunday.
He said that samples are taken to Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) labs in Kisumu twice daily.
“We have been testing ordinary people going about with their daily chores but on a volunteer basis and that is why our numbers appear to be going up,” he said.
Added he: “With increased testing on asymptomatic population, we are bound to get more.”
In the last two weeks, Nakuru County has recorded 273 new coronavirus cases emerging top nationally twice but Governor Kinyanjui has called for calm.
However, he has decried the fact that residents have gone back to their normal lives disregarding safety measures put in place by the Ministry of Health.
According to the data presented to the media, a total of 20,594 people have been tested so far and 1, 500 found to have contracted the virus; out of which 557 have recovered.
According to records, 30 people have so far succumbed to the disease.
Currently, there are 20 patients admitted in various health facilities where 14 of them are on oxygen support, he said.
“We consider the emerging numbers to be a fair representation of the community infections status,” he said.
According to him, the Nakuru County had been wrongly portrayed as a new hot spot saying the situation is not different from other parts of the country.
“It is only because other counties are not testing while we’re increasing ours and that is the dilemma we are having because people out there are not getting the right picture,” said Governor Kinyanjui.
He expressed concern that the numbers could rise even more owing to the fact that many people were no longer observing preventive measures such as regular washing of hands with soap, keeping physical distance and wearing of face masks in all public places.
Consequently, Governor Kinyanjui is now contemplating introducing more stringent measures particularly for bar operators and other traders found to be flouting safety measures.
“Low adherence to public health guidelines has contributed to increased infections,” he said.
Mombasa new wave
Meanwhile, Mombasa County is experiencing a new wave of Covid-19 infections with several hospitals in the county, reportedly recording an overwhelming number of patients.
Yesterday, officials at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH) were holed up in a crisis meeting, even as a source at the hospital confirmed that the number of patients wards have gone up three-fold.
“When the government announced that the numbers had started going down, the admission rate went down.
At some point we had only six patients at the wards. But now they have gone up to more than 20 patients with the ICU having more than four patients,” said a source.