Some 699 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed out of 7,175 samples tested, pushing the national tally to 25,837.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (pictured) spoke on Saturday when he toured Kakamega to assess the county's preparedness in dealing with coronavirus. He was received by Council of Governors chairman and host Wycliffe Oparanya.
Some 781 patients have recovered, pushing the recoveries tally 11,899, CS Kagwe said. But the fatalities tally also moved to 419.
The county, with a population of two million people, has also recorded a dip in the number of patients seeking medical attention in hospitals for fear of contracting Covid-19.
- 1 Ethiopian Airlines rides out pandemic on strength of cargo boom
- 2 What social distancing? French students complain of packed lectures
- 3 Fatalities rise to 711 as four more patients die of Covid-19
- 4 Sh2.3b lost in Kemsa Covid-19 scandal-report
Covid 19 Time Series
But Governor Oparanya said covid patients are only treated at Likuyani, Mumias and Kakamega, while the rest of the hospitals attend to patients with other ailments.
The region needs to boost its testing capacity, the governor admitted. Kakamega has no testing lab and uses the Kemri lab for the services. Oparanya said the county also has limited access to reagents.
Special staff have been identified, trained and selected on voluntary basis to deal with Covid-19. None of these staff, including the more than 4,000 community health volunteers, have tested positive.
The governor also added that the county has also set aside three ambulances for tracing suspected cases and patients. The Health ministry further donated 4,000 PPEs and masks to the county.
Part of the county's preparedness is the launching of a toll free line 0800720573 for Covid-19-related services.
Also present was Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, who praised the county leadership headed by Oparanya for ensuring Kakamega achieved the threshold of 300 beds in Covid-19 centres.
Wamalwa said readiness to deal with coronavirus is the biggest devolution test even as counties call for more funds to grease the wheels of development.
Meanwhile, Kagwe called on counties to ensure that expectant health workers are kept off the frontline in the handling of Covid-19 patients.
Kagwe, who addressed the nation on the status of Covid-19 in Kenya from the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital on Friday, was responding to a request made by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri that expectant health workers should not be exposed to high risks conditions.
“We would like to call on all our 47 counties to be well-prepared to handle Covid-19 cases since all counties are now exposed and we would like to discourage referrals since at some point we may be overwhelmed,” Kagwe said.
Poor health-seeking behaviour and the long turnaround time for Covid-19 test results are some of the reasons why Kenya is recording a high number of people dying from the disease.
According to the Ministry of Health's situational report dated August 5, 93 per cent of the cases in Kenya are asymptomatic.
The leading clinical signs are cough, with 52 per cent followed by fever (39), difficulty in breathing (29), and headache (12).
The country’s testing protocol prioritises persons exhibiting symptoms, which means their cases should be caught early and managed before deteriorating. However, this is not the case.
“The long turnaround time for relaying laboratory results to clients in most counties is causing a delay in public health action,” the Ministry admits to this in the situational report.
Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui has raised the same concerns, saying the delays are increasingly putting patients and their contacts in danger.
Kinyanjui said the county has witnessed delays of up to more than one week on samples taken to Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi.
The Ministry of Health has highlighted an inconsistent supply of test kits and reagents to meet the general demand as this is a global pandemic. To this end, on August 3, Health Director-General Patrick Amoth revised the discharge protocols which ruled out the need for a second test for patients whose symptoms have cleared.