Covid-19: Over 2,000 Nairobians tested amid fears of second wave

Health worker Mary Migide collects a sample from a resident of Kibera, Nairobi, for testing for the coronavirus, October 18, 2020.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A total of 2,054 samples were collected on the first day of the exercise on Saturday, across the 17 sub-counties in Nairobi.
  • The NMS team, led by Director-General Mohamed Badi, has ramped up testing amid concerns about a second wave of infections in several counties in Kenya.

More than 2,000 Nairobi residents have been tested for Covid-19 in the second phase of free voluntary mass testing launched by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over the weekend.

A total of 2,054 samples were collected on the first day of the exercise on Saturday, across the 17 sub-counties in Nairobi.

Some 247 people were tested in Makadara, 214 in Kibra, 168 in Dagoretti North, 140 in Kamukunji, 135 in Embakasi North, 125 in Kasarani, 124 in Westlands and 120 in Embakasi South.

Some 106 samples were collected in Embakasi West, 100 in Lang’ata, 96 in Embakasi Central, 95 in Embakasi East, 82 in Ruaraka, 81 in Starehe, 80 in Mathare, 72 in Roysambu and 69 in Dagoretti South.

The samples will be taken to the Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital laboratory for processing.

The number of samples collected on day two will be released on Monday.

Second wave

The NMS team, led by Director-General Mohamed Badi, has ramped up testing amid concerns about a second wave of infections in several counties in Kenya.

Nairobi has been the country’s virus epicentre, with more than 22,000 reported positive cases and over 400 deaths, since the first case was reported on March 13.

The capital city accounts for more than 50 per cent of the 44,196 cases and 825 deaths nationwide as at October 17.

The number of the positive cases started declining in September but spiked after the national government relaxed containment measures towards the end of the month.

Revised regulations as announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta saw the re-opening of bars and schools, shorter curfew hours as well as an increase in the number of people at worship centres and funerals.

Tracking

The agency said information collected during the free mass testing will guide decision making on containing the virus.

“Random testing of a large population will give us an indication of how widespread infections are in Nairobi by calculating the positivity rate especially after easing the containment measures,” said a communique from NMS.

“A higher positivity rate suggests higher community transmission and that there are likely more people with the coronavirus in the community who have not yet been tested. By testing many people, we will ensure the positive cases that are contagious are isolated to reduce transmission.”

The first free round of mass testing by the NMS was conducted in May, over 11 days, and saw 3,000 samples collected for analysis.

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