Rules laxity to blame for Nakuru surge

Monday, October 19th, 2020 00:00 |
A crowd during a peace meeting at Neisuit, in Njoro, Nakuru county. They are not keeping the social distance rule. Photo/PD/Raphael Munge

As the country grapples to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections, Nakuru County has seen a surge in the number of reported  cases.

The county lately is ranked second in the number of cases detected, with health official’s warning that the region is slowly emerging as a hot spot for the virus.

Nakuru has in the past seven days recorded a positive rate of 75.7 cases per 100,000 people, which has seen a shard rise in the number of patients who have tested positive and those hospitalised.

With its overall positivity rate having risen to 7.7 per cent higher than the 6.1 per cent nationally, county officials are worried over the continued laxity to the adherence of the containment measures put in place to contain the spread of the disease.

Nakuru County Health Executive Gichuki Kariuki  linked the current spike to a number of issues with reckless behavior among residents ranking as the biggest contributor.

Gachuki further notes that some of the main challenges faced are burnout among health workers both stationed at the facilities and field.

He says that hostility from locals has become a major obstacle especially in enforcing quarantine and isolation.

“Within the social places, individuals do not wear facemasks and they also don’t observe social distancins,” said Gichuki.

Also, the county’s proximity to Nairobi, being a transit town and the newly opened Naivasha Inland Container Depot have been blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Reported case

As a result, Nakuru has embraced targeted testing in five sub-counties to establish the disease burden with most of the cases being from truck drivers, traders, inmates and healthcare workers.

Latest County Health department  Situation Report reveals that at least 32 patients are admitted across the county hospitals; 16 are at Nakuru Level Five, Langalangan Hospital (nine), Nakuru War Memorial (four), Annex (two) and one in Naivasha.

According to the report, all the 11 sub-counties have reported a case of the virus  with Nakuru Town East being the epicentre.

A spot check within the town  centre revealed that most locals operate without face masks and they disregard other containment measures..

“Covid-19 ‘is a lie perpetuated by government officials to enrich themselves with funds donated by well-wishers,” said Michael Waweru, a food vendor in teh town.

Susan Ochieng, a market trader at Wakulima market, noted that residents have ignored calls to observe the Ministry of Health’s guidelines.

John Wafula claimed that though police were supposed to enforce the health regulations to curb the virus spread, most of them have resulted in harassing innocent residents and taking bribes.

“Police are selling us masks after paying bribes if you are arrested without one, we are just living a joke and you cannot expect me to accept that the virus is real,” said Wafula.

Nakuru Town East Deputy County Commissioner, Eric Wanyonyi, said that they have formed ar team to crack the whip on those flouting Covid-19 safety rules.

“Let us all follow the set regulations, this is not negotiable and we expect full compliance, you will be arrested if you ignore the same,” said Wanyonyi.

On his part, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui urged locals to observe the containment  measures.

He, however, attributed the spike in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to enhanced testing noting that the county had been wrongly labeled as a new hotspot.

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