Govt rolls out home care plan for Covid-19 patients

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman giving coronavirus update on June 10, 2020 at Afya House in Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Dr Aman said 78 percent of positive cases in Kenya are asymptomatic and can be managed at home.
  • 781 Covid-19 patients are currently admitted to public hospitals across the county.

The government Wednesday launched protocols for home-based isolation and care, anticipating to discharge asymptomatic Covid-19 positive cases.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman said the implementation of the protocols would start “immediately", meaning that, from Thursday, Covid-19 positive patients who do not have any symptoms will start getting discharged.

Dr Aman said that after announcing that 175 patients had recovered and been discharged from various facilities across the country.

It was the highest number of recoveries to be recorded so far, against 105 new infections.

The CAS said, the protocol was developed to provide a solution in the management of the increasing numbers and the anticipated surge in Covid-19 cases.

“Available data in our country shows that 78 per cent of infected persons, admitted to our hospitals, are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic,” said Dr Aman.

He added that these patients can be managed at home, “provided that proper laid-down procedures are followed.”

The guidelines explain the criteria for someone to be released for the home-based care, care procedures, medical monitoring, the referral system to health facilities should the need arise, as well as the criteria for determining recovery and community participation.

“The implementation of the guidelines shall be done under the supervision of medical and public health officials,” said Dr Aman.

Those who cannot afford to be isolated in their houses because of space, will be placed in a facility within the community that meets the recommendations for providing such care, he said.

His annoucement came just hours after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was “rare’” for asymptomatic (positive without symptoms) to pass the virus on.

“We don't need specialised health care workers to take care of asymptomatic cases. These (healthcare workers) can then be used for needy cases,” said the CAS.

He noted that it had become untenable to isolate all Covid-19 cases in hospitals due to the increased number of infections, and the challenge in capacity at health facilities.

The Health ministry announced that 781 Covid-19 patients are currently admitted to public and private health facilities, of which seven are in the intensive care units, four under intubation, and two under ventilation.

“Eighty-five per cent of our patients leave ICU. This shows how good and effective our healthcare workers in our facilities are,” said Dr Mary Nandili, the Director of Nursing at MOH.

However, the increasing number of positive truckers is an issue of concern.

Many of those reported positive Wednesday were truck drivers most from various border points, the highest being 18 from the Malaba border point in Busia

Turkana also registered seven cases, all of them truckers, at the Nadapal entry point. Taita-Taveta had three cases, all truckers, as were the two cases recorded in Kisumu.

According Dr Francis Kuria, the issue has been truckers and owners who have not been following guidelines. Truckers are supposed to have a Covid-19 free certificate before they embark on their journey.

“The issue of truck drivers has been a thorn in the flesh for the last two to three weeks. Since we launched the protocols that control movement of truck drivers along the transport corridor, we have seen failures, largely on the part of truck owners and truck drivers,” he said.

Currently, the total number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country is 3,094 and the total number of samples tested is 102,956. The total number of samples tested for yesterday’s results was 2,273.

Out of the positive cases, 96 were Kenyans and nine were foreigner aged between two years and 77, with 28 being females and 77 being females.

Nairobi led with 43 cases, Busia(18), Mombasa(11), Turkana(7), Migori (6), Kwale and Kiambu (5 each), Kilifi, Machakos and Taita Taveta had three cases each. Kisumu had two while Uasin Gishu, Siaya, Kajiado and Garissa had one case each.