The government insists it is in control of the Covid-19 outbreak even as the country recorded the highest number of fatalities as 12 people died of the disease within 24 hours.
“All these deaths are from Nairobi County, nine from various hospitals while three are from the community,” said Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. “This is the highest number of fatalities recorded in a single day since this pandemic started.”
However, with this confession, the government is burying its head in the sand on how devastating this disease could be, considering how unprepared the country is.
For example, not all counties have met the 300 isolation bed capacity requirement, neither do they have the necessary equipment, yet the number of critically ill patients has been rising for a country with about 500 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.
By last weekend, the number of patients in critical care was at 40, yet two months ago not more than five patients would have been reported to be in the same condition in any single day.
But the CS, accompanied by Elgeyo Marakwet County Governor Alex Tolgos said the surge in numbers occasioned by the increase in severely ill patients just a week after reopening of the economy should not scare Kenyans.
A week after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced reopening of the economy in phases on July 6, the country recorded 2,038 cases. One of the bare minimums for reopening was the preparedness of hospitals in the counties. Each of the 47 counties was to have at least 300 isolation beds.
Tolgos yesterday firmly stated that counties were ready and patients would not have to be airlifted to Nairobi for treatment, giving a reference of his own backyard.
“I want to confirm that we have five ICU beds in Elgeyo Marakwet and we are working on having an additional three. We also have 11 ventilators,” said Tolgos, referencing on media reports that his county was not prepared.
However, five ICUs against a population of more than 450,000 is evidence of how unprepared the county is, which could be the case in other counties.
Each county with a referral hospital (Level Five) is required to equip it with at least 12 ICU beds and additional 12 for High Dependency Unit as per the checklist by the Kenya Medical Practitioners Council, the body that classifies health facilities.
Elgeyo Marakwet County has fewer ICU beds than required by the council. By June 27, critically ill patients were 18. This figure rose to 29 by July 3 and over the weekend the number hit 40.
Kagwe said it was evident that the affected people were more and the high numbers reported expected. Yesterday the country recorded 189 cases from a sample size of 1,205. Worship places are set to open today.
“If you don’t wear a mask and keep physical distance, stay at tome. Don’t transfer your irresponsibility to the government,” said the CS.