You may soon be required to undergo a Covid-19 test to secure a bed in a public hospital, the government announced on Monday as the number of cases shot to 700.
Health Director-General Patrick Amoth said patients seeking admission will be required to undergo Covid-19 test to avoid putting the lives of health workers at risk.
“When people die in hospital they risk infecting health workers and patients at the wards who have weak immune systems. Admission at a facility may soon require testing so that healthcare providers are protected,” he said.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said the tests will be done to ensure prevention of unknown transmissions.
“This will be implemented as soon as possible and issues of cost will have to be discussed because, as you are aware the tests are not cheap. The government will try the best we can to co-operate with private hospitals to make sure it is implemented across the country,” he said.
Hospitals like Aga Khan have already started testing of inpatients for free as confirmed by Dr Majid Twahir, the associate dean for clinical affairs and chief of staff at the facility.
Dr Aman said the increased number of deaths at home and those of patients who were confirmed to have the virus after their deaths, has put many in danger with the latest being on Sunday.
The two deaths reported in Mombasa County are of an 80-year-old female and a 62-year-old male who both died at home before their Covid-19 test results were out. The man had a heart problem.
The new directive came as Kenya's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 700 after 28 more people tested positive from 841 samples.
The new cases include 10 in Mombasa, nine in Kajiado, seven in Nairobi and two in Wajir.
In Nairobi, the new cases are from Kenyatta National Hospital (three), Embakasi East (two), Kibra (one) and Pumwani (one).
In Mombasa, they were in Mvita (three), Changamwe (two), Kisauni (two), Nyali (two) and Likoni (one).
In Wajir, the new cases were in Eldas and Tarbaj.
Dr Aman said all the cases in Kajiado were truck drivers tested at the Namanga border point with Tanzania.
He said that this development pointed to the fact that there was a problem in neighbouring Tanzania.
“Five other individuals from Tanzania also tested positive and were referred back to Tanzania,” he said.
He also raised the red flag over border crossing by members of communities living in counties such as Wajir and Mandera that are close to Somalia.
“We have noted especially at the border, increasing number of positive cases. The communities living along porous borders are urged to be vigilant and report when they see people crossing from the other side so they can be tested.”
One more patient died in Nairobi, bringing total deaths to 33, while 251 have recovered from the virus.
Dr Aman noted that testing capacity had grown, but was sometimes limited by availability of reagents, which he noted is a global problem caused by increased in demand.
“We have introduced measures to contain such as expansion of testing labs from two to 16 a,” he said.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who was present at yesterday’s briefing, said it’s the responsibility of every restaurant in the country to follow Covid-19 protocols issued by the government.