Health CS Mutahi Kagwe says country preparing for possible 4th wave of COVID-19


Health CS Mutahi Kagwe says country preparing for possible 4th wave of COVID-19
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in Kibra on the last day of the first round of emergency polio vaccination on May 26, 2021. PHOTO| COURTESY

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has called on County Governments to enhance capacity in health facilities to deal with a possible fourth wave expected in the coming weeks.

Kagwe says the country’s current Oxygen capacity may not withstand the wave at a time the more lethal Indian variant has been reported in at least 28 persons.

The detection of the Indian variant of COVID-19 in the country appears to have shaken the country’s healthcare system, at a time the fate of national vaccination programme against the disease remains uncertain.

“And the Indian variant is more dangerous that the South African variant, or the British variant that we have been dealing with. So we need to be extra careful…,” said Kagwe.

The Ministry of Health has so far confirmed 28 infections in the western part of the country, Nyanza region on red alert. And as the country reels from the ravages of the third wave that had some of the worst devastating effects and a dent on the healthcare system, the CS is calling on county governments to focus their resources in boosting capacity in county health facilities.

“We are asking county governments to boost their oxygen capacity, to do piping at their facilities wards. Prepare with supply of oxygen beyond what we currently have,” urged the Health CS.

In the months of March and April, several counties were deficient of oxygen supply, many of them relying on cylinder delivered medical oxygen. The shortage and hoarding of cylinders dragging the chain, the best option being to pipe gas supply to the wards.

This comes as the positivity rate remained under 10 percent as 431 new infections were detected from 5,846 samples tested. Another ten people were reported to have died on diverse dates, in what has become custom of the ministry to report late COVID-19 deaths.

More than three weeks since President Kenyatta lifted a partial lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19, the month of May continues to report considerably low infection rates. So far 10,038 infections have been reported this month, contrasting with preceding months that had reported an average of more than 800 new infections per day.

The month of May however remains notable on fatalities, so far reporting an average of 14 COVID-19 related deaths per day, albeit many of them have been attributed to late reporting.

On positivity rate, May 2021 has recorded the lowest rate over the last three months. An average of 7.9 percent. President Kenyatta had in March this year predicted that the country would by this time have flattened the curve. The positivity rate is yet to drop below 5%.

Of concern though is the fluctuating volume of testing that may lead to unreliable data. On average the country has run 4,521 tests per day this month. A total of 117,541 tests, a decline from the rate of testing previous two months.

At the moment, over 1,100 patients are admitted at various hospitals, 113 of them in ICU, with 24 of them requiring ventilatory support. A total of 282 of the patients require oxygen services, a sharp decline from the peak season of the third wave when more that 400 patients required oxygen in a day.

And as the country awaits clarity on the future of the vaccination programme, 960,379 persons have so far received the COVID-19 jab, majority of them, the Astrazeneca dose that requires a second dose.

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