State considering home care for mild coronavirus cases

Thursday, April 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi with acting director general of health Patrick Amoth (centre) and director of public health Kepha Ombacho yesterday at Afya House during the daily briefing on coronavirus. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Kenya yesterday confirmed seven more cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number to 179, even as two more people were discharged after testing negative.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said all the new patients are Kenyans.

The CAS also revealed that the government was developing guidelines for the management of mild coronavirus cases at home.

She said the technical Covid-10 taskforce had put together the home-based protocols, which are expected to be validated by the World Health Organisation  and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the next 24 hours.

Home care

She said the planned mass testing is likely to increase the number of cases, thus strain the healthcare facilities.

“One of the measures we are looking to deploy in the coming days is a home-based care protocol where for mild cases we advocate for home-based care.

Through our hotline and different support structures, we will be able to monitor the patients to ensure they observe quarantine measures,” said the CAS in the daily update on Covid-19.

In addition to previous measures issued to contain the disease, Mwangangi said all salons and barbershop operators must wear face masks while attending to clients and must have hand sanitisers.

The CAS underscored the need to ensure all laboratories conducting testing follow the laid down protocols in terms of reporting test results.

Private facilities

Even as the Ministry invokes the Public Health Act, Mwangangi said, matters of confidentiality and other principles governing the practice of medicine, were being taken seriously.

“The Ministry is aware of reports that there are positive cases of Covid-19 in Parliament. We have no official reporting of these cases to the Ministry of Health. We are rolling out mass testing, which will include various institutions, and we will be able to relate to you what the situation looks like in Parliament or in the Judiciary,” she said.

She said all private testing facilities must share reports of their results with the Ministry of Health for purposes of record-keeping and monitoring.

In the last 24 hours, 305 samples were tested out of which seven were positive for the Covid-19.

All the seven had history of travel to Congo, United Kingdom and US, she said.

In terms of distribution in counties of residence, Nairobi has five, Mombasa one and Uasin Gishu one.

“Two of the cases emanated from our mandatory quarantine facilities while five were picked by our surveillance teams. Most of the cases are emanating from quarantine. The measure of mandatory quarantine has actually protected Kenyans. We have set a criteria where the medical teams employ an assessment tool to determine which centres adhered with the quarantine measures,” she said.

Productive population

Four of the new cases are females and three males. 

In terms of breakdown of the 179 cases, three are below 15 years of age, 49 are 15-29 years, 114 are on the 30-59 age bracket while those above 16 are 13.

 “When we look at age distribution, the corona virus disease is affecting the more productive members of our society, as you can see only 13 are above 60 years of age meaning we need to take charge and observe the various measures outlined,” she said.

Some 2,004 people have been monitored out of whom 1,426 have been discharged and 578 are on follow-up.

To date, 5,278 samples have been tested.

“This disease has shown itself to be blind to creed, status, colour, age and height. It is for this reason we have been calling for one-for-all-and-all-for-one approach to save ourselves,” she added.

She said 500 more doctors will be hired to help in combating the pandemic, adding that if the local supply of medical professionals does not suffice, the government will look for help outside the country.

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