Concerns as Covid-19 cases in the Lake region rise rapidly

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Out of 10 patients tested for Covid-19 at Siaya County Referral Hospital, four have the virus, with experts talking of a mild sixth wave to run through June.

According to a report by the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), the hospital has recorded a 43 per cent increase in coronavirus cases.

This comes amid lower testing and vaccination.

The country is testing less than 2,000 samples a day, down from a high of 10,000 at the peak of the pandemic.

This also means testing kits and reagents could expire.

In the report, an advisory panel on Covid-19 control says Chulaimbo Hospital recorded an increase of 10 per cent in Covid-19 cases.

“We note with concern that some county hospitals have depleted their rapid testing kits. Kakamega County Referral Hospital, for instance, does not have any kit left. At the same time, vaccination efforts are declining with the risk of vaccine expiry,” Prof Khama Rogo, the chairman of the LREB Committee, said.

“We recommend that hospitals acquire rapid testing kits. There should be mass testing of people and contact-tracing where possible.”

Alongside testing, the team recommends mass vaccination to attain a 70 per cent, up from the current 31.

“Many Kenyans are not going for booster shots. It is advisable that fully vaccinated individuals whose booster shots are due should visit vaccination centres,” Prof Rogo said.

Ministry of Health data released Monday indicate that about 18 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Kenya.

Of these, some 16 million were given to people aged 18 and above, 1.34 million to those between 15 to 17 and 33,452 to those 15 and below.

Only 323,148 booster shots have been administered.

This brings the proportion of adults fully vaccinated to 31 per cent, with the government aiming to give the shots to 27 million people by the end of this year.

“We are lagging behind in testing and vaccination. This may hit us hard should there be a stronger wave,” Prof Rogo said.

A total of 6,193 vaccine doses were administered on Monday.

Only Nyeri county has fully vaccinated more than 51 per cent of its population, followed by Nairobi (49), Kakamega (39), and Nakuru, Laikipia, Kirinyaga and Taita Taveta at 38 per cent.

“Information collected in the last couple of days in LREB shows that a Covid-19 sixth wave is looming. The wave was scientifically predicted to begin in late April and run through June. The scientists said the wave would likely be mild and run for 40 days,” Prof Rogo said.

Kenyans seem to have moved on from the pandemic and are not worried about the rise in new cases.

A majority have gone back to shaking hands while very few are sanitising.