What you need to know:
- Lake region counties have set up inter-county border points surveillance to track those who test positive.
- The highly infectious Indian variant of Covid-19 was first reported in Kisumu, and is suspected to be spreading in the community.
Lake region counties are pooling together medical equipment, human resources and hospital beds to cope with rising Covid-19 infections recorded in recent weeks.
The bloc secretariat has proposed rapid testing of suspected cases to isolate the sick from the healthy population.
The counties have hired Dr Shem Otoyi to analyse infection data to project different scenarios of the spread of the disease, to help in preparing for multiple possible outcomes.
The 14 Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) member counties include Siaya, Busia, Bomet, Kericho, Kisumu, Homa bay, Kisii, Nyamira and Vihiga. Others are Migori, Bungoma, Kakamega, Nandi and Trans Nzoia counties.
They have also set up inter-county border points surveillance to track those who test positive.
The fresh Covid-19 wave has hit the lake region counties hard, with some facing admission bed shortages as well as lack of oxygen and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to handle a growing number of critically ill patients.
Dr Rosemary Obara, the head of the health pillar at the LREB, says the bloc is auditing data on available admission beds, health practitioners, ambulances, hospitals and oxygen cylinders to help in the fight against Covid-19.
“We have a forum comprising all the Health CECs and other county officials, where this information is being shared. We want the data to be in a central point where it is accessible and will help in both clinical and communal management of the disease,” said Dr Obara.
Dr Obara says that already, Trans Nzoia and Siaya counties have offered extra oxygen that may help other counties from the region whose facilities are overstretched due to a surge in the number of new infections in the area.
“What we want to do is inter-county cushioning. The bloc is also mobilising for resources from partners to purchase for counties expensive machines and equipment such as pulse oximeters that may help before a patient is taken to the Intensive Care Unit,” said Dr Obara.
According to the latest report by the Bloc’s Secretariat, the situation within the region is getting out of hand, with beds being full in the major hospitals and patients lying on the floor.
The highly infectious Indian variant of Covid-19 was first reported in Kisumu, and is suspected to be spreading in the community.
Homa Bay County reported lacking oxygen for patients and had to refer patients to Kisumu, while in Busia County hospital beds are full.
In Kisumu county cases health workers are overwhelmed by the rising number of patients. 895 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the region between May 31 and June, 6 2021; down from 1,196 in the previous week. The highest number of cases are from Kisumu County – 330, Siaya County – 162 and Kericho County at 66.
Surge in numbers
Total cases in the LREB as at June 6, stood at 25,106 accounting for 14.6 percent of the 172,491 total confirmed cases nationally.
Total tests done in Kenya stood at 1,834,247 as at June 6, accounting for 3.4 percent of our total population estimate of 53,771,296.
Non-adherence to the Covid-19 protocols during the Madaraka Day celebrations has also contributed to the surge in numbers.
In absolute numbers, Kisumu recorded the highest number of new cases in May (1,217) which is double the April figure of 648.
For the first time since the first Covid-19 case in Kenya in March 2020, Kisumu has now overtaken Busia as the county in the region with the highest cumulative number of cases.
In percentage terms, Siaya recorded the biggest jump in new Covid-19 cases in May compared to April, at 63 percent increase.
“We predict a further surge in cases in Kisumu and neighboring counties within the next three months, especially following the Madaraka Day celebrations,” said Dr Obara.