Kakamega County Takes The Heat As Covid-19 Second Wave Sweeps Across The Country

Kakamega’s Governor Wycliffe Oparanya inspects ongoing works at the new funeral parlour and the waste management plant at the Kakamega County General & Referral Hospital (CGH)
  • “The epicentre of this disease in town is a bar located next to Bukhungu Stadium. Whenever you go there, you will meet these health workers drinking recklessly,” – Governor Oparanya.

KAKAMEGA, Kenya, October 30, 2020 – On Thursday as the government confirmed the country is facing a second wave with infections are rising faster and the deaths more than the initial phase, Kakamega County headquarters was under lockdown due to coronavirus.

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe made the admission as the country’s caseload crossed the 52,000 mark after 761 new confirmed cases from 4,830 samples tested in the last 24 hours.

Speaking in Mombasa, Kagwe warned that latest statistics are looking grim, with all indications that Kenyans have dropped their guard and are no longer adhering to Covid-19 containment measures.

A top county official had succumbed to the virus. With scores of MCAs and county government staff having contracted the Covid-19, Kakamega County was hardest hit.

However, a couple of counties have shut down operations due to the ravaging virus while more are were staring at imminent closure after.

Whereas Nairobi remains the epicentre of the renewed infections, counties are hard hit with some administrations on the knees, after leaders and staff contracted the virus.

In a statement issued, the Ministry of Health announced that the new cases include 430 Kenyans and 7 are foreigners. “253 are males and 184 females.

Hardest hit is the Kakamega County headquarters after the County Chief of Staff Robert Sumbi succumbed to the disease, while dozens of the county government employees contracted the disease.

Sumbi died a day after Kakamega County headquarters was temporarily closed, following reports that 57 healthcare workers had contracted the virus. He had been admitted at Kakamega County Referral Hospital.

On Wednesday, 155 people were still in isolation while seven were said to have succumbed to the disease. According to close friends, Sumbi, who served as the Environment minister in Oparanya’s first Cabinet was recently diagnosed with stage three cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy at the hospital.

On Wednesday, Oparanya closed down the county headquarters in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Oparanya admitted that the situation was getting worse and urged workers to take voluntary tests.

Some of the hardest-hit institutions include the county general hospital, Kakamega GK prison and Shikusa Prison.

Oparanya dismissed claims by medical workers that the county was ill-prepared to handle Corona cases due to lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) among other things. “Health workers are professionals who know the dangers if they expose themselves in the course of the work,” he said.

“The epicentre of this disease in town is a bar located next to Bukhungu Stadium. Whenever you go there, you will meet these health workers drinking recklessly,” the governor said.

The situation was no better at the Homa Bay County headquarters and the Bungoma County Assembly, after at least eight MCAs went down with the virus, forcing the closure of the assembly for another 14 days. Of the eight MCAs, six are from the Bungoma County Assembly and the other two from the Homa Bay assembly.

In Homa Bay, health officers fumigated Governor Cyprian Awiti’s office after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19. A similar exercise was conducted at the county assembly after two more MCAs and three staff contracted the virus.

According to the ministry of Health, the deceased was admitted to Platinum hospital on Friday, July 24, 2020, at about 5:00 pm after she presented with COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever, chest pain and difficulty in breathing.

The fumigation exercise was intended to minimise transmission of the virus to top county officials. County Health Executive Richard Muga said the mandatory tests were initiated after an MCA, tested positive for the virus last week.

The infection led to suspension of the county assembly sittings for two weeks.

Things are not different at Bungoma County where six MCAs and seven members of staff, are said to have contracted the virus forcing Speaker Emmanuel Situma to close down the assembly for 14 days.

Targeted testing Last week, Governor Wycliffe Wangamati moved to self-isolation after some of his close aides contracted the virus. “The affected MCAs and staff members have been advised to go into self-isolation,” said Situma.

In Siaya County, Health officials have embarked on targeted testing after a Form Four student at Maranda High School contracted the virus last weekend. Siaya County Director of Public Health Kennedy Orwenjo said the affected student is in isolation.

Orwenjo said the student is receiving treatment at Bondo Sub-County Hospital and contact tracing is underway. Currently, there are 39 positive cases at the facility.

In Baringo County, fear was palpable after Leah Kulei, a teacher at Olmarai Day Secondary School in Mogotio sub-county, died while undergoing treatment in Nakuru on Monday. A university don also succumbed at Nakuru Nursing Home.

In Kisumu, the county Covid-19 MultiAgency Committee has instituted stringent public regulations as it seeks to curb a further spike in new infections. Kisumu has recorded a spike of Covid positive cases, in the recent past.

A total of 1,025 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Kisumu, from a test sample of 11,737. The county has recorded 12 deaths. Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the spike in the Covid numbers calls for urgent measures to avoid an explosion of the disease.

Five doctors and ten nurses at the regional referral facility were confirmed having contracted the deadly virus in the last one week as health workers in the region grapple with a surge in infections.

Among the new rules include immediate removal and internment of bodies from the county morgues and restriction of burial ceremonies to a maximum of 200 mourners. The committee also banned night vigils with bodies. Nyong’o said those failing to comply will face the full force of the law.

Speaking in Mombasa, Kagwe warned that latest statistics are looking grim, with all indications that Kenyans have dropped their guard and are no longer adhering to Covid-19 containment measures.

The spread of the disease is largely in crowded areas especially entertainment joints. “We sadly seem to have dropped our guard. Containment is not for the government alone, it is everyone’s responsibility,” the CS warned.

The CS said the Health ministry will give further directions after the review on the resurgence of infections is concluded. He reiterated that key management of Covid-19 patients is through home-based care, adding that those with no symptoms should not be restricted to hospitals.

“If you expose yourself, those who will take of you? It’s your own family. It is now a family responsibility. All the family members will leave you in your room, move beds to create a room for you,” he warned. He also said most counties have done well in the fight against the spread of the virus with some having achieved the 350-bed capacity as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.



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