The number of coronavirus cases in Kenya increased to 8,528 after 278 more people tested positive.
During a press briefing in Makueni, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the new cases were discovered from 3,053 samples tested in the last 24 hours.
The new cases are distributed in 14 counties with Nairobi leading with 131 cases, Kiambu 32, Busia 29, Migori 23, Machakos 20, Kajiado 13, Taita Taveta eight, Vihiga seven, Mombasa five cases, Nakuru four with Isiolo and Makueni recording two cases each.
Meru and Kisii counties recorded a case each.
Mr Kagwe announced that the number of Covid-19 recoveries rose to 2,593 after 89 patients were discharged from hospitals.
Covid-19 deaths in the country now stand at 169 after two more patients died overnight.
At the same time, the minister said Covid-19 patients in counties will soon not be able to access care in Nairobi as city hospitals are becoming full.
The CS announced that going forward, there will be no evacuation of coronavirus patients to the capital.
With rising Covid-19 infections, the country is faced with the risk of overwhelmed hospitals, with the Health ministry advising counties to start preparing adequately to tackle the disease at their level.
“This decision is not out of will but rather from the position where by at that time hospitals in Nairobi will be overwhelmed. If our modelling is correct, by the time people in counties are thinking of coming to Nairobi, there will be no bed capacity,” Mr Kagwe said as he inspected the level of preparedness of Makueni County Referral Hospital.
The CS, however, cautioned counties against turning down Covid-19 patients from their neighbouring regions, as he emphasised individual and community responsibility.
“This disease does not understand geographical boundaries, therefore, in terms of care we cannot afford to turn people away,” he said.
“We are all in this together. If we have the capacity, we should take in patients who are seeking care.”
Although the ministry is expanding bed capacity in Nairobi to 1,000 in the next 30 days, Mr Kagwe noted that the devolved units should improve their level of preparedness as the virus will be in all counties soon.
“We are now dealing with a virus which is well established at the community level. All counties except five have reported Covid-19 cases,” he said.
Makueni was among the counties that were lauded for their level of preparedness after having established a Covid-19 treatment unit at the Makueni County Referral Hospital.
The unit, which was rehabilitated from its initial use as a Youth Centre, has a 12-bed capacity— including male and female ICU wards and a paediatric ward for coronavirus patients.
To further boost the bed capacity in the counties, the CS announced that the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) offered 40 of its facilities as isolation and quarantine centres.
This includes a 300 bed-capacity centre in Makindu, which will serve patients in Makueni County.
“There are some counties that are struggling to get to the 300-bed capacity but we expect that counties go beyond this number. We will also upgrade facilities such as KMTC to adequately serve patients who are admitted there,” he added.