Tracing of contacts now moves to community Nairobi, Thursday April 23, 2020

The government has tested 668 samples in the last 24 hours, out of which, 17 people have tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total number to 320.

The 668 samples were drawn from  various counties namely Nairobi which had 478, Mombasa 101, Siaya 31, Uasin Gishu 13, Homabay 11 Kajiado had 6, Laikipia and Migori 5 each, Kiambu and Kwale three, Kisumu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo 2 and Meru, Embu, Garissa, Tanariver, Uasin Gishua and Lamu one each.

The results were released today by the Ministry of Health, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Mercy Mwangangi who alluded that suspension of international travels, tracing of contacts has moved the focus to the communities.

Seventeen of today’s positive cases are Kenyans, 12 from Mombasa and five from Nairobi. Fifteen have been picked by the surveillance teams and two are from mandatory quarantine centers. out of which,  nine were males and 8 were females both aged between 22-60 years. 

Dr.  Mwangangi also announced that six patients have recovered and have been discharged bringing a total number of recoveries to 89 and disclosed that the Ministry has noticed a trend where there are newer admissions every single day. Two patients are in ICU, while the rest have mild cases.

She also clarified that coronavirus is a new disease whose incubation period from the time of exposure is averagely 5 to 6 days but can be up to 14 days depending on an individual. During this period, also known as the “pre- symptomatic” period, some infected persons can transmit the virus thus transmission from a pre-symptomatic case can occur before onset of symptoms.

Studies have shown that in a small number of cases, some people have tested positive for COVID-19 from 1-3 days, before developing symptoms and what this means that, it is possible that people infected with COVID-19 can transmit the virus before significant symptoms develop, she noted. 

She also explained that a majority of those infected eventually exhibit symptoms, there is a cohort, and the percentage averages about 60 percent in our case, that test positive for COVID-19, but are completely asymptomatic.

“Asymptomatic transmissions pose a challenge to the containment of COVID-19 and it is therefore imperative that all our frontline people, truck drivers, matatu drivers, journalists, bankers, security and health personnel wash their hands with running water and soap, and to wear facemasks at all times,” the CAS warned

She also cautioned the people on over reliance of sanitizers arguing that while they may be effective, soap and running water is the best for fighting this disease.

“People must therefore, start prioritizing washing of hands and only sanitize in exceptional circumstances,” she advised and noted that “we want our industries to focus on producing quality sanitizer products, so that we do not end up creating newer problems, while solving the COVID-19 problem.”

She also advised the public that contracting Coronavirus is not a crime because all have a potential risk of contracting the disease. She urged the public to stop stigmatizing those sent to quarantine facilities including those have recovered from the disease.

“Being quarantined is neither a detention, nor a punishment. Quarantine is meant to serve the greater public good, which is public health. The fact that we have many who have recovered from the disease, is an indication that we are capable of effectively managing and defeating this disease,” Dr. Mwangangi said and urged the public to continue adhering to the measures put by the government

The government she said is reviewing measures that have been put in place and their impact to come up with a matrix and evaluate them when the committee meets on Sunday to see where there is need to tighten or improve them.

The Acting Director General, Patrick Amoth noted that the government is not criminalizing the quarantine process and that with the tests kits now the process of testing is being fast-tracked to ensure those who test negative are released to go home and continue to quarantine.

“We have tried to improve our quarantine areas in terms of hygiene but those who have escaped from the quarantine facilities, the arm of the law will catch up with them,” Dr. Amoth warned.