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Amoth issues Covid-19 advisory as Nyanza bears brunt of illness

Youths in Kondele blocked the road when President Uhuru Kenyatta's motorcade approached forcing police officers to disperse the youths who demanded to be addressed by the head of state.[Mumo Munuve,Standard]

Hospitals and mortuaries in Nyanza region are strained as the number of Covid-19 cases rise.

Most hospitals lack ward space for admissions, forcing some patients to lie on the floor.

A spot check by The Standard showed that mortuaries were full despite a requirement by the Health ministry and county government that bodies be disposed of within 72 hours.

In Homa Bay, the county health department headquarters have been closed after five senior officials tested positive for Covid-19.

The officials are battling Covid-19 at various health facilities. Among them are those charged with the responsibility of making policies in the department.

Homa Bay County Health Administrator Ely Odhiambo announced closure of the offices on Tuesday.

Odhiambo said they had closed the offices for the next one week.

In Kisumu, wards in public and private hospitals were full while laboratories reported that they had run out of reagents to test for the coronavirus.

At the bus terminals and other public places, some locals continued to openly flout Covid-19 regulations with a number of matatus and tuktuks seen carrying excess passengers.

The situation at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referaral Hospital (JOOTRH) was dire, with some patients being discharged prematurely.

Yesterday, of the 433 persons who tested positive for the disease nationally, 129 were from Kisumu and 24 from Siaya. Of the 129 cases in Kisumu, Kisumu Central led with 59 cases, Kisumu West 27, Kisumu East 20, Nyando and Seme 7 cases each, Nyakach 5 and Muhoroni 4.

According to a report by Lake Region Economic Block (LREB), total cases in the region as at June 6 stood at 25,106 accounting for 14.6 per cent of the total confirmed cases nationally being 172,491.

The number of people who had received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccination as at June 6 stood at 975,399, which is 1.8 per cent of the entire population.

According to LREB Health Pillar Director Rosemary Obara the situation within the region is getting out of hand with hospitals beds full.

Dr Obara said Busia County was also overwhelmed with high number of patients. She blamed the situation on the Madaraka Day celebrations, which saw residents throw caution to the wind.

Dire situation

“We predict the numbers will still rise and the situation will be more dire in the coming days,” Obara said.

And yesterday, the Ministry of Health yesterday warned of a surge in Covid-19 cases in Nyanza and parts of South Rift and Western region.

In an advisory, acting Director General of Health Patrick Amoth said coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Busia, Vihiga, Bungoma, Kericho and Bomet counties in the last three weeks.

Dr Amoth’s statement showed Kenya had reported over 172,491 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,287 since March last year.

“The recent gatherings and increased inter-country movements during the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, and the identification of the new variants of concern, B.1.1.7, (Alpha), B.1.351, (Beta), and the B.1.617.2 (Delta), which are highly infectious may herald an upsurge in cases especially in Kisumu.”

The number of persons diagnosed with Covid-19 are projected to continue rising through the months of June and July 2021 in the lakeside counties and surrounding areas.

“In view of the above, the Ministry of Health cautions all Kenyans, especially those residing in those areas of the risk of contracting the infection during this period and urges all to remain vigilant in observing the laid down Covid-19 containment measures,” Dr Amoth said.

He warned that failure to adhere to Covid-19 regulations would result in increased cases and deaths.

All county governments in the affected regions were urged to re-energise their teams to ensure the containment measures are enforced.

Counties governments are also urged to increase and intensify testing and genomic surveillance to identify and inform on frequency and extent of potential community transmission of variants of concern.

The counties are also urged to enhance contact tracing for exposed individuals, and institutional isolation of infected individuals.

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