May 2020 theStandard; Twenty four people have tested positive for coronavirus in Kenya in the latest update from the Health ministry. It is the highest number of confirmed cases reported in a day since March 13, Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi has said.
Mass testing drives in Kawangware, Nairobi, have netted seven of the new coronavirus cases.
The remaining 10 were from Eastleigh, five from Mombasa and two from Migori county who had recent travel history from Tanzania. The national tally currently stands at 435.
On the Kawangware cases, Health Ag Director General Dr Amoth said out of the 20 cases in the area 12 can be traced to one individual who worked at the Health ministry’s emergency operations centre.
The single individual passed the infection to six primary contacts. This, Dr Amoth said, shows the importance of social distancing and observing rules set in place to flatten the curve.
One more patient has died, pushing the fatality tally at 22. The latest casualty was a 51-year-old woman from Mombasa who had an underlying condition.
Targeted testing shows the disease is firmly within the community. Some of the challenges that have hurt mass testing include low turnout as seen in Mombasa’s Old Town.
Although the target was 24,000 residents, only 131 showed up for the test rolled out on Thursday. The Health CAS cautioned small businesses that seem to have gone back to work, saying “the disease is still with us”. Businesses flouting the rules set in place to curb disease spread will be closed.
Dr Mwangangi noted that there has been a decrease in the number of patients visiting hospitals for other illnesses. While this would ordinarily be good news, the CAS said citizens should not be afraid to seek medical assistance when needed.
Following concerns on the standard of the quarantine centres, Dr Mwangangi reiterated that the ministry has taken note and is working to ensure those in the facilities are comfortable. In light of the anticipated surge of numbers, the ministry is looking to explore home-based care quarantine mechanisms.
Dr Mwangangi went on, “The success of home-based care is highly pegged on our discipline and cooperation.” Dr Amoth said there are currently 214 patients being monitored across the country, with only one under critical care. He cautioned that although Remdesivir may have renewed hope in the corona fight, it is not a silver bullet.
Remdesivir, developed by American biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences, is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral treatment administered via daily infusion for 10 days. The drug is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally.
Multiple Phase 3 studies are ongoing to determine its safety and efficacy. There is also no oral form for Remdesivir, which Amoth said is meant for severe cases. So far, all Kenyan cases are mild and asymptomatic.