Covid-19: Infection rate highest in Mombasa

Sunday June 14 2020

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman during a Covid-19 briefing at Afya House, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A study by the Ministry of Health to identify the infection rate of the coronavirus in emerging clusters reveals a higher infection rate in Mombasa County at 7.8 per 100,000 population.

This is much higher than the country infection rate of 4.7 per 100,000 population.

Other counties with a high rate of infection include Nairobi with an attack rate of 26, Busia (9.4) and Kajiado (7.2).

The situation report by the Ministry of Health shows that of the total confirmed cases, 45 per cent are from Nairobi followed by Mombasa.

The Chief Administrative Secretary for Health, Dr Rashid Aman, said that the attack rate in Mombasa and Nairobi is high given the dense population in the two counties.

He added that the Ministry of Health continues to keep a close watch on the counties with high attack rates and that is why the cessation of movement directive was not lifted in those counties.


“We have tested more people in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kajiado because they are hotspots. Given how densely populated these areas are the high attack rate is not surprising,” he said.

“We must all do everything we can to keep the (transmission rate) from continuing to increase,” Dr Aman added.

He noted that counties are stepping up their preparedness to detect and cope with coronavirus importations

Kenya has 3,700 beds in 151 isolation and quarantine facilities set aside for coronavirus response and public hospitals in Nairobi and Mombasa are already at capacity.

Meanwhile, 12 counties have local transmission of the coronavirus without any evidence of importation, according to the situation report.

The report reveals that Nyeri, Machakos, Isiolo, Makueni, Laikipia Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Muranga, Meru, Embu and Bomet counties only have local transmission of Covid-19.

Dr Aman said that this is because people who tested positive for the virus may have not been truthful about their movements and who they interacted with.

“Individuals may not have revealed if they had travelled outside these counties because many are still afraid of being quarantined and this makes it hard for us to do contact tracing,” he said.

The CAS added that contact tracing had been complicated by those giving wrong contacts and telephone numbers.

“We have noticed a disturbing trend of individuals who provide wrong contacts and telephone numbers during testing. Once the results are out, such individuals then become unavailable. This is serious considering that some of them have tested positive and we are unable to trace them. The consequence of not doing so, particularly when one tests positive can be disastrous” he said.

Dr Aman said that this is among the reasons why President Kenyatta said he could not ease the measures put in place.

President Kenyatta said the country had not met the blueprint endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) which attempts to help guide countries towards this next phase.

The advisory by WHO describes a general trajectory that includes rapidly increased testing, which could inform localised strategies to respond to specific transmission patterns.

The WHO guidelines also recommend proper contact tracing ahead of reopening any country. For countries that plan on easing restrictions, WHO also proposes putting measures in place to minimise transmission in hotspots such as workplaces and schools. The agency advocates provision of equipment that makes social distancing viable.

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti, who is chairman of the Health Committee at the Council of Governors, said it is alarming how the coronavirus is spreading in the counties.

“This virus is spreading very fast in counties now and that is why we want the Counties Emergency Response Committee to urgently convene a meeting,” he said.

He added that it was possible the number isolation beds could become inadequate in the next two to four weeks based on the number of currently available beds.