Covid-19: Why Nakuru positive cases are soaring

A health worker measures the temperature of a tuk-tuk driver at Nakuru Level Five Hospital on May 7, 2020. 

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • He revealed that in the past, the county was doing 1,000 tests per week but this has increased to about 2,500 per week in October.
  • As of October 17, a total of 5,512 people had been tested while 616 cases were positive, raising the caseload to 44,196.

As Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise in Nakuru County, it is emerging that most residents are not following the protocols laid down by the Ministry of Health.   

However, the county’s health department has said that the rising numbers is due to mass testing.

“We do not have a crisis, we are realizing the high number of coronavirus positive cases because of targeted testing. If we get one case, we ensure all those who have had contact with the patient are traced and tested," said County Health Executive Kariuki Gichuki.

He added: "If other counties emulate Nakuru, they will discover they have so many Covid-19 positive cases.”

Partial lockdown

However, he said despite the increasing Covid-19 cases, the county has no plans to enforce partial lockdown in the region’s hot spots.  

"We have no authority to impose lockdown because that is the duty of the national government, said Dr Gichuki.

He revealed that in the past, the county was doing 1,000 tests per week but this has increased to about 2,500 per week in October.

“Up to the end of September, we were doing 1,000 tests per week but from October, we intensified our testing mechanisms and we increased from 1,000 to 2,500 and sometimes we hit 3,000 tests per week, that is why Nakuru contributes about 10 per cent of all the samples taken in the country," said Dr Gichuki.

“Nakuru County wants a clear picture on the ground and this will help us identify the hot spots and that is why our figures look 'bad'."

As of October 17, a total of 5,512 people had been tested while 616 cases were positive, raising the caseload to 44,196 countrywide.

At least 34 confirmed patients are admitted and two are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 15 patients are at Nakuru Provincial General Hospital, Naivasha (1), Langalanga Hospital Nakuru (11), Nakuru Nursing Home (3) and four in Nakuru War Memorial Hospital.

Testing kits

Dr Gichuki lauded the national government for helping the county with testing kits.  

However, he admitted that social –distancing does not work adding. "We need behavior change to fight this together and follow Covid-19 protocols."

He added: "When residents don't observe the ministry of health guidelines and protocols we have a big problem in the offing as we have invested so well in equipment and human resource."

He said the isolation facilities are equipped with drugs and staff to deal with the soaring cases.

Dr Gichuki clarified that the county had not closed down one of its isolation centres at Bondeni Maternity Hospital.

"Due to a rise in the number of cases (Covid-19) in Nakuru County, we have decided to reopen Bondeni Maternity Hospital as an isolation centre.”

He said isolation centres spread across the county were only admitting serious positive cases.

"We're only admitting serious cases while others are managed through home-based care programme," added Dr Gichuki.

fmureithi@ke.nationmedia.com