Kenya facing new, ‘more aggressive wave of COVID-19’ says health ministry

Kenyans walk past an informative mural about the Coronavirus along Haile Selassie avenue in Nairobi. Kenyans have made creative ideas of informative messages in murals, skits, face masks, songs and many more since the first case of covid-19 was confirmed. /Boniface Muthoni/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported 1,279 new confirmed COVID-19 cases taking the nationwide total to 116,310.

FILE PHOTO: Kenyans walk past an informative mural about the Coronavirus along Haile Selassie avenue in Nairobi. (Photo by Boniface Muthoni/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, who spoke during an address to reporters, said the country was facing a new wave of infections that was more aggressive and non-discriminatory.

“Over the last few days, we have seen our positivity rate rise with a vengeance that we have not seen before. As we speak, we are now confirming over 17 percent, yesterday, of those tested as positive. Once again, today, some 1,279 persons out of a sample size of 7,450 have again tested positive. This means that our positivity rate today is, once again, 17 percent,” Kagwe said.

Kagwe also noted that virtually all infections were asymptomatic and there had been a steady rise in hospitalizations while cases in the intensive care unit (ICU) hit more than 100 over the last one week.

“Because of how stretched the facilities are in the main hospitals, we are going to really emphasize on home-based isolation and home-based care. Those who do not need oxygen, those who do not need ventilators will have to be looked after at home.”

“This means that those of us who are operating freely must be very, very careful. In our own homes, we should now be prepared to host our family members who may be infected.”

Kagwe noted that hospitals needed to prepare to expand their ICU facilities as this wave was unlike the others.

According to Kagwe, more than 200 people have died from the disease since mid-January. The East African country has so far lost more than 1,900 people to the disease.

Kenya, which is experiencing a third wave of infections, recently saw the government extend the nationwide nighttime curfew for a further 60 days in addition to a number of other measures to contain the spread of the virus, including the banning on political gatherings for 30 days.

Close to 20,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the government rolled out the vaccination campaign last week in a first phase which included health workers, teachers, security and religious instructors.