Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori have all issued public health advisories to their workers in a bid to minimise physical contact and in-person meetings as health centres in the region grapple with high patient numbers.
In Kisumu County, staff in non-essential departments have been asked to work from home. Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company will from today close its offices to the public, it said in a notice. The Kisumu Yacht Club also announced a two-week closure due to concerns for the safety of its members, it said.
In Migori, health officials said three Covid-19 variants have been detected. Public Health Chief Officer Pauline Amollo said the UK, South African and Chinese variants had been detected.
Ms Amollo said the county was working closely with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) to establish whether the samples taken for testing had the deadly Indian variant.
“We have noticed that the symptoms have changed, not the high temperatures we were witnessing before,” said Ms Amollo.
Migori County has so far recorded 1,474 infections since the virus was first reported in the country.
“We are concerned about new infections owing to our proximity to Tanzania. Initially, we recorded as low as two percent positivity rate but it is disturbing that, despite the latest interventions, we are still at a high positivity rate,” said Ms Amaollo.
In Kisumu, Governor Anyang’ nyong’ o’s chief of staff who is also the acting Public Communications chief officer, Mr John Oywa, said the county government has taken a decision to limit physical contact among staff to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“Meetings, including the Cabinet meetings, will now be done via Zoom,” said Mr Oywa. Regional Commissioner Magu Mutindika has asked staff vulnerable to infections to go for the Covid-19 jab.
On June 3, the county had reported 145 cases. On Saturday Kisumu recorded 45 new infections. Health officials attributed the increasing infections to non-adherence to containment measures.
With zero social distancing during the June 1 Madaraka Day celebrations, health officials have raised concerns that communal infections are bound to increase, with both local and private facilities feeling the weight.
At Aga Khan Hospital, the Covid-19 wing has 13 patients. The hospital is making arrangements for six other patients to be admitted at the isolation facility.
According to the hospital’s medical director, Dr Patrick Eshiwani, the situation is worsening as the infections keep increasing.
In Homa Bay County, the shortage of oxygen supply at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the County Referral Hospital has persisted for the second week. Some 30 Covid-19 patients have been admitted with 12 new cases reported on Saturday.
Governor Cyprian Awiti’s administration has procured a Sh4 million oxygen cylinder with a capacity of 3,200 litres.
The hospital cannot admit more patients as the wards are full. Medicines Sans Frontiers, which manages operations at HDU, warned that doctors could soon be overwhelmed due to the surge in infections. Patients are being accommodated in tents set up at the parking lot.
Reported by Elizabeth Ojina, Ian Byron and George Odiwuor