• Two new cases are from Kilifi while the third case is from Nairobi
• Early this month, the government had mapped out 14 counties that had been categorised as high-risk
A Nairobi businessman has become the first Kenyan to die after contracting coronavirus.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe confirmed Thursday night that the 66-year-old patient died while receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at the Aga Khan University Hospital.
“We have received the sad news of the first patient who had tested positive for coronavirus. The 66-year-old male Kenyan citizen who passed on this afternoon had been admitted at Aga Khan ICU.
“The man who was suffering from diabetes had arrived in the country on March 13 from South Africa via Swaziland," Kagwe said.
The man's family members also announced his death on social media and detailed his last travels.
The businessman, who hails from western Kenya, had high blood pressure, one of the underlying conditions that doctors report make Covid-19 patients vulnerable.
"It is likely he contracted the virus in South Africa," an official aware of the case told the Star.
The man checked in at Aga Khan after the initial trip for a normal check-up when he experienced mild symptoms. He was treated and left to go back to his home.
He is believed to have also visited Namibia in the last three weeks.
After the initial visit to hospital, he felt unwell and returned to the hospital again after three days. This time he was admitted and secluded in a special area because his condition had worsened.
He had a high fever and remained at the Aga Khan, Nairobi, where his condition worsened, until his death Thursday.
By Wednesday, South Africa’s had confirmed Covid-19 patients had risen to 709, the highest in Africa.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would enforce a 21-day lockdown over coronavirus.
On Thursday, Health Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi announced three more infections in Kenya, raising the reported cases to 31.
With one fatality and one patient having recovered, the number of active cases remains 29.
Mwangangi said the government is now focusing special attention to the counties that have been identified as high risk.
They are Kilifi, Kwale, Nairobi, Mombasa and now Kajiado.
The three additional cases were from 74 samples from suspected cases of coronavirus that were tested at the National influenza Centre, Kemri laboratories in Nairobi and Kemri-Welcome Trust in Kilifi.
The confirmed cases are spread out in the five counties listed as hotspots.
All the three new cases are Kenyan women aged between 30 and 61 years, who are close contacts of previously confirmed cases.
Two are from Kilifi while the third case is from Nairobi.
“The new patients have already been taken to isolation in our facilities and are being monitored by our medical personnel together with the others who previously turned positive,” Dr Mwangangi said.
The elderly Kilifi patient, who is French, has since been airlifted to Nairobi and placed in the Intensive Care Unit.
Tracing of contacts for the new patients and those of the previous patients is ongoing.
So far, some 1,029 close contacts have been traced out of which 123 have been discharged after completing the 14 days follow up period.
The remaining 906 are being monitored while 18 are currently admitted at Mbagathi Hospital awaiting test results.
“There are consultations going on on how our teams are going to handle Kilifi and other areas that are emerging as hotspots. I urge the people at Kilifi and Coast counties to observe social distancing with self-determination,” Mwangangi said.
Early this month, the government had mapped out 14 counties that had been categorised as high-risk.
In addition to the six named they are Kiambu, Machakos, Kakamega, Kisumu, Busia, Migori, Nakuru, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Wajir and Garissa because of their proximity to international borders.
Kakamega county on Thursday reported one case of the virus, with the patient now in isolation at Mbagathi.
Nairobi is among high-risk areas on grounds that it is the region’s biggest commercial hub with the biggest port of entry at JKIA.
Mombasa and Kilifi are seaport counties while Nakuru, Machakos and Uasin Gishu re transit counties.
Kiambu and Kakamega counties are considered high-risk because they are close Nairobi and Busia, respectively.
One person has recovered fully with the government being optimists that more negative results will be recorded.
“We did a series of tests as per the WHO guidelines which require that the patient gives two consecutive negative results, but there is a possibility of reinfection should such a person come into contact with an infected person hence is still required to adhere to the hygiene regulations,” acting DG at the ministry Patrick Amoth said.
On Wednesday, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe held a consultative meeting with religious leaders who promised to carry out messages of hygiene and hope for Kenyans during this coronavirus pandemic.
“There are more than 2,000 people who arrived in the country this week and we have placed them under mandatory quarantine. These individuals shall be tested in due time in line with guidance from the world health organization.”
So far the JKIA which has been closed effective Wednesday night as the government had ordered on Sunday as one of the measures aimed at limiting the importation of Covid-19 cases into the country.
Countries that would like to evacuate their nationals from Kenya have been advised to do so through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We appeal to Kenyans to continue supporting the measures put in place by the government to deal with this pandemic as it is the only way that we can cut off the transmission of this virus in our country,” she urged Kenyans.
(edited by o. owino)