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Official hints at the end of corona lockdown

Sunday June 28 2020
Mercy

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi giving daily updates on Covid-19 at Afya House, Nairobi on June 28, 2020. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BERNADINE MUTANU

President Kenyatta is set to open up the country next week after increased capacity to manage Covid-19.

Earlier, the President had linked reopening the economy to the county’s preparedness in handling the pandemic.

Speaking Sunday during the daily Covid-19 update, Dr Patrick Amoth, the Health Acting Director-General, said counties had met most parameters for combating the pandemic. He added that there was a likelihood that the country will be opened up.

In a meeting last week, county chiefs agreed on six parameters that will determine if containment measures will be lifted or not.

Besides setting up isolation centres with a capacity of a minimum of 300 beds, counties had to set up rapid response teams.

Dr Amoth said that emergency preparedness should be scaled down to the sub-county level where many coronavirus cases are expected to be reported.

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“We’ve done capacity building for trainers for county health management teams. It’s expected that this will be cascaded down to the sub-county level,” he said.

According to Dr Mercy Mwangangi, the Health ministry Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), they have trained 60,000 community health volunteers across the country who are undertaking surveillance. “We’re prepared in terms of testing and surveillance and we are sufficiently ready when it comes to treatment because we have case management protocols and experts. We’ve managed over 1,000 recoveries so we know how to handle asymptomatic, mild, moderate and severe cases,” the CAS said.

Kenya has 28 laboratories that can test Covid-19.

“The government will not leave anything to chance on the issue of testing, which is critical for stopping the transmission because it’s only after testing that we can determine who is positive, who requires isolation and who requires to go for quarantine,” Dr Amoth said.

He said the Health ministry was exploring the possibility of better equipping remote counties such as Mandera and Turkana because “turnaround time (for results) grossly increases” due to their remoteness and vastness.

Counties experiencing large numbers of Covid-19 cases will also be considered, he said.

“We’ve developed simple templates at points of entry where your temperature is checked,” he said.

He added that there will be a simple triage system, which will ask passengers whether they have a cough and difficulty in breathing, “With this we will be able to kick out about 80 per cent of the Covid-19 cases. “This is a simple application which does not require a lot of resources and we think if we can do this, then it’s likely that we will open up the economy,” he said.

He challenged governors to   speak about Covid-19.

Dr Amoth said infection and prevention control measures will focus on shielding the elderly and the vulnerable.

He requested governors to map out elderly and people with pre-existing conditions for supply of masks. “A big proportion of counties is able to put these measures in place and quickly stump out further transmission,” Dr Amoth said.

Dr Mwangangi said that counties should be able to deploy home-based care and offer critical services such as oxygen for moderate and severe patients.

“Within one week or so, we should be ready in terms of preparedness, but for now all containment measures remain in place as the national emergency response committee continues to review progress and counties continue to submit their level of preparedness,” she said.

On Sunday, local Covid-19 cases rose to 6,070 after 259 people tested positive from 2,718 samples.

Dr Mwangangi said that another 35 people had been discharged from various hospitals after full recovery, while two patients succumbed to the virus, taking the national death toll from the virus t0 143.

Nairobi led with 127 cases, followed by Mombasa (39), Kiambu (22) and Machakos (16).

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