CS Kagwe warns of ‘more aggressive’ COVID-19 strain as 1,279 new cases recorded

CS Kagwe warns of 'more aggressive' COVID-19 strain as 1,279 new cases recorded
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe addresses the press on the state of COVID-19 on March 17, 2021. PHOTO / COURTESY / MOH

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday announced that 1,279 people tested positive for COVID-19 from 7,450 samples, taking the total caseload to 116,310.

From the cases, 1,218 are Kenyans while 61 are foreigners; 723 are males and 556 are females while the youngest is a two-month-old infant and the oldest is 96.

The cases were distributed across various counties as follows; Nairobi 608, Kiambu 117, Mombasa 84, Uasin Gishu 82, Nakuru 78, Machakos 63, Turkana 35, Kilifi 29, Kajiado 28, Busia 17, Kisumu 16, Nyeri 10, Taita Taveta 10, Makueni 10, Garissa 9, Embu 8, Meru 8, Narok 8, Siaya 7, Kakamega 7, Trans Nzoia 6, Nyandarua 5, Kisii 4, Kericho 3, Kitui 3, Laikipia 3, Nandi 3, Elgeyo Marakwet 2, Murang’a 2, Nyamira 2, Bomet 2, Isiolo 2, Kwale 1, Lamu 1, Migori 1, Samburu 1, Bungoma 1 and Homa Bay 1.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, addressing a press conference, said the country is facing another surge of COVID-19; a more aggressive, non-discriminatory strain attacking everyone from infants and those with no known comorbidities to those that are elderly.

“Over the last few days, we have seen our positivity rate rise with a vengeance that we have not witnessed before and as we speak, we are now confirming over 17% yesterday of those tested as positive,” he said.

“Unlike before where virtually all our infections were asymptomatic, we are also seeing a steady increase in hospitalizations, with ICU cases climbing to over 100 over the last one week from a low of 30 just two months ago. The spike has not stopped there; in the same period since mid-January, we have lost over an additional 200 individuals to COVID-19.”

CS Kagwe also urged compliance with the protocols issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week so as to aid in combating the spread of the coronavirus.

He directed counties to open all isolation facilities in preparedness for immediate use; to enforce all public health measures; further that law enforcement agencies ensure no feasting at funerals and that family members do not exceed 100.

“Since I know that there are those who see a contradiction between increased containment and vaccination, getting a jab does not mean relaxing in our wearing of masks, sanitizing or social distancing. Infact, the opposite is true. Until we have sufficiently innoculated the entire population and created herd immunity, we will remain at risk,” he stated.

“I am very encouraged by the feedback we are receiving from the counties on the uptake of the vaccine and wish to encourage all those that are eligible for this phase, to avail themselves for vaccination even as we work tirelessly to sustain supply. So far, we have vaccinated a total of 19,900 people since the vaccination exercise begun.”

The CS added: “As we have indicated, this first phase covers frontline workers who include health care, teachers, security and religious instructors. Further, we have noticed that most of the deaths are in persons aged 60 years and above with underlying medical conditions. This being the case, we have prioritized them to be part of the phase 1 roll out plan once the second consignment of vaccines is delivered next month.”

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