COVID-19 update: CS Health Senator Mutahi Kagwe today,s highlights

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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.

And today once again, 1,279 out of a sample size of 7,450 have tested positive. This means our positivity rate today is also 17%. 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.

Our frontliners have remained steadfast in their commitment to service, the COVID-19 task forces at work and the National Emergency Response Committee and indeed the Government of Kenya unwavering in its zeal to protect the public.

Yet I cannot underscore the importance of our compliance with the protocols spelled out by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta this past week as guided by our medical experts. With the pandemic spreading nationwide, with the surge affecting more of us and with health a devolved function, it is important that I remind us all that the President has directed among others, that:

1. Counties convene regularly to assess the containment of the virus in their region and the availability of piped and portable oxygen;

2. Counties open all isolation facilities in preparedness for immediate use;

3. Counties enforce all public health measures and penalize facilities flouting the rules;

4. Law enforcement agencies ensure the observation of the directives guiding social events so there is no feasting at funerals and that family members do not exceed 100;

5. And, that county public health officials ensure the fumigation of all public transport vehicles as frequently as may be practical.

6. Funeral homes and parlours to strictly observe the 72 hour period for release of bodies.

7. The Taskforce to ensure that home based isolation and management is enhanced.

8. Hopsitals to expand ICU facilities and to the extent possible, redeploy more resources to the fight against Covid-19.

Fellow Kenyans,What the Government is demanding is cooperative behaviour. It is seeking your partnership in this fight because as we have maintained from the onset, in this cycle of life, our actions and agility shall determine how fast we sink or swim as an intertwined people.

There is the adage, “if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.”

And we can do it successfully, as we have always done when faced with a common enemy.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.

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.As we have indicated, this first phase covers frontline workers who include health care, teachers, security and religious instructors. For avoidance of doubt, religious instructors include members of the clergy.

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.

Fellow Kenyans, I am praying that as a result of your cooperation, we will begin to see a decrease in the number of admissions we are seeing, and of course an arrest of the deaths.

The burden being placed on our coping mechanisms whether it is by the 754 currently admitted in hospitals or the 2,167 being supported by you in Home Based Care, is real.

And while we have every reason to celebrate the 280 patients that have just recovered from the disease – – 154 from the Home Based and Isolation Care and 126 from health facilities, the reality is we are also mourning the loss of an additional 12 patients.

And these aren’t just numbers; each is a mentor, a caregiver…a person with loved ones. Our cumulative fatalities now stands at 1,937.As I have noted above, this situation continues to deteriorate as with more testing positive.

The total confirmed positive cases are now 116,310 with cumulative tests so far conducted now being 1,387,440. From the cases 1,218 are Kenyans while 61 are foreigners. 723 are males and 556 are females.

The youngest is a two-month-old infant while the oldest is 96.

In terms of County distribution; 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.

Given the import of the prevailing situation therefore, I urge counties to have all their ambulances on the ready for use in evacuating any severe cases requiring facility care from homebased isolation.

I also urge the urgent vigilance of Community Health Volunteers in managing all those in homebased isolation and care.

We have trained a majority of the volunteers for just a time such as this. F

amily members with patients must strictly follow advise from the health care workers without fail. I hate to say this but should the prevailing situation not improve, the Ministry may be left with no alternative but to recommend the escalation of containment measures to deal with the disease.

Its therefore important that all adhere to the measures in place to stem the tide of the rising cases. This includes the strict adherence to public order and curfew measures as per the directives of His Excellency the President.

As I end, I wish to thank those taking this virus with the seriousness it deserves and for going out of your way to be your Brother’s Keeper.

Let us all observe the measures. All hands are needed on the deck as we place Kenya first.

I thank you.

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