CASES NOW 1,109

Kenyans warned of new Covid-19 symptoms as cases rise

Ministry projects Kenya's cases will peak in August and September, recording over 200 daily.

In Summary

• Official says numbers have been on the rise because the capacity to test has also gone up. 

• Ministry says non-typical flu symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and chicken pox-like lesions. 

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during the Covid-19 update at Afya House on May 21, 2020
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during the Covid-19 update at Afya House on May 21, 2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Kenyans and medics have been advised to be vigilant after reports that people infected by coronavirus across the world were exhibiting new symptoms.

The ministry has also projected that the peak of infections in the country is expected to be around August and September where Kenyans are expected to see at least 200 cases recorded in a day.

Further, patients who have recovered from the virus have been advised to continue adhering to regulations put in place by the ministry after it emerged that they can suffer infection more than once as the virus can reoccur between 30 and 50 days after recovery.

 
 

“It has been found that this happens only in patients with compromised immune systems, which is why we should again be aware of these developments,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said on Thursday.

Reports from various countries indicate that as the virus continues to spread, infected persons are increasingly exhibiting new, less typical non-respiratory system symptoms such as sudden strokes in young people and multi-inflammatory symptoms with similar features to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome in children.

The cases have largely been confined to the US, the UK, France, Italy and Spain and have so far not been seen in Kenya.

“Nonetheless you need to be cognisant of them because in each of these cases tested for antibodies the results were positive which indicates that the patients had been exposed to Covid-19,” Kagwe said.

In addition, it has emerged that there is a growing number of patients exhibiting non-typical flu-like symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress syndrome that leads to loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and chicken pox-like lesions.

“Over the past two weeks, we have increased our testing capacity by more than 40 per cent and we intend to continue with this escalation. I would, therefore, like to encourage you the public and our medics to be alive to these symptoms.”

Kagwe said the new development has made several countries experience a reemergence of Covid-19 after they had successfully contained it.

 
 

Some such as Iran, South Korea, Germany, China and Ghana have been forced to enforce restrictions that they had earlier eased.

Kagwe called on Kenyans to keep the social distancing requirements, isolation and wearing of masks guidelines that the Ministry of Health has issued.

“This is to ensure that we succeed in containing the disease and not eradicating the gains that we have so far made.”

This is after the country continued to experience a growing number of positive cases, with a total of 80 new cases recorded on Wednesday, the highest figure so far.

The number of positive cases in the country now stands at 1,109.

Seven of the new cases are mourners from Siaya who had been cleared by an unauthorised person to go for a burial ceremony.

The 80 were from 3,102 samples tested in a day. The total number of tests conducted since the first case is now 52,507.

Health DG Patrick Amoth said the modelling keeps on changing based on variables that the country inputs.

“Our wish is to continue with the measures that we have put in place which have made it possible for us to have a smoother curve, therefore, our health system has not been overrun,” Amoth said.

He said the government is looking at the measures in place to help when doing remodelling for the opening of schools, churches and other social places but each measure will be taken purely based on science.

The DG said the numbers have been on the rise because the capacity to test has also gone up, adding that the fact the virus has established community transmission is another factor.

“That means that the more we test the more we are likely to pick. It will not be a surprise when we test 4,000 people to report 100 plus cases so we should be prepared for that scenario.”

Nine more people were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have successfully undergone treatment and recovered to 375.

In terms of age, the new cases are aged between six months and 66 years, comprising of 53 men and 27 women.

Out of the total confirmed cases, 41 are from Nairobi while 20 are from Mombasa. Siaya had seven cases while Kwale, Garissa, Kajiado and Taita Taveta had six, three, two and one case respectively.

No death was recorded on Wednesday. The number of those who have succumbed to the virus remains at 50.

At the same time, 40 truck drivers tested positive at the border points and were referred back to Tanzania. They comprised 39 Tanzanians and one Burundian national.

“The numbers suggest that our border points have become hotspots for the disease. This must be mitigated. I, therefore, want to appeal to our people residing at border counties and those at points of entry to be more vigilant and to utilise the Nyumba Kumi initiative to help in community policing,” Kagwe said.

Edited by R.Wamochie