SURGING NUMBERS

State concerned with challenges of contact tracing amid surging cases

Says increasing numbers have changed circumstances put more limitations on contact tracing.

In Summary

• Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said contact tracing can only be most effective when there is a slow rate of infection.

• He said with the increasing numbers, circumstances are changing and the challenges of contact tracing increasingly  growing

Health Executive Misheck Mutuma screens a passenger at the border of Meru and Mandera
Health Executive Misheck Mutuma screens a passenger at the border of Meru and Mandera
Image: GERALD MUTETHIA

The government has expressed concerns over increasing challenges in contacting tracing amid surging Covid-19 cases.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the current situation where more people are testing positive of the virus has put a lot of limitations to contact tracing.

“There has been a lot of talk on the state of contact tracing. Since the first case was reported in March, we have implemented an application to trace those who have been in contact with the positive cases but as of now, we are facing several limitations,” Kagwe said during the daily Covid-19 updates at Afya House.

 

He added, “Contact tracing can only be most effective when there is a slow rate of infection. In our initial stages when infections were low, it was achievable but with the increasing numbers, circumstances are changing and the challenges of contact tracing increasingly growing”.

Kagwe said since health is a devolved function, the Ministry developed protocols in line with WHO guidelines and shared with county governments with an aim of raising the level of preparedness.

Kenyans should not however panic about testing and contact tracing, the ministry is pushing all the county governments to elevate levels of preparedness he said.

“The management of this disease is not only about treating those infected but it is about testing, tracing and isolating those who have contracted it,” Kagwe added.

The CS said looking at the increasing challenges of contact tracing, the ministry has enhanced new methods of trying to reach affected.

“Initially we had like 10 ambulances in Nairobi on standby to collect those affected, but with 500 people testing positive in a day, we cannot have 500 ambulances,” he said.

He said when samples reveal so many positives, if the numbers are equated with the population, it is likely that many more people are positive.

 

“This is why we keep telling Kenyans please save yourselves, the person next to you might be positive,” he said.

He said though many Kenyans do not appreciate and understand the dynamics of contact tracing, the current numbers indicate there are a lot of people who are positive in the community.

“If such reality is told to Kenyans, it will help them protect themselves,” Kagwe said.

So far Kenya has reported 20,636 after 723 more people tested positive of the virus.

Kagwe said the 723 were from a sample of 8, 679 tests done in the last 24hrs.

The cumulative samples tested now stand at 303,959 since the first case was reported in March.

Some 44 patients were discharged from hospitals within the same period bringing the total of recoveries to 8,165.

However, 16 more patients succumbed to the virus raising fatalities in the country to 341.