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Nairobi staring at full-blown Covid-19 health crisis

Nairobi could be plunged into a full-blown health crisis with Intensive Care Units (ICU) beds set aside for Covid-19 patients almost full.

Head of Infectious Diseases at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Dr Loice Ombajo raised concerns that health facilities in the capital are quickly running out of bed space with a surge in daily Covid-19 cases.

The country has this month witnessed a spike in reported cases of Coronavirus in what is feared to be a second wave of the deadly disease.

As of October 27, 2020, some 38 patients were in intensive care, 15 on ventilatory support and 61 on supplementary oxygen from which 25 are in the high dependency unit.

“In Nairobi, most ICU beds are almost full. Remember an ICU bed is not just a bed but comes with other amenities including human resource and hospitals,” said Dr Ombajo during an interview on one of the local televisions on Tuesday.

Nairobi has continued to be the epicenter of the deadly disease and on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, it recorded 556 new Covid-19 cases out of the 836 cases reported nationwide that day.

The situation has not been any better in the past five days where the numbers in the capital city have been high at 305 on October 22nd, 2020; 235 a day later, 154 on October 24th, 333 on October 25th and 50 cases on October 26th.

Two weeks ago, the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) conducted a two-day free mass testing of Covid-19 in the county where more than 4,000 individuals got tested for the virus.

Dr Ombajo pointed out that the recent spike of new cases has seen some hospitals in Nairobi to forced to either turn away patients for admission or refer them to other facilities.

“Remember Covid-19 is not a one day admission and we have more people seeking daily and only a few get lucky. We need to do something before hospitals are overwhelmed. In KNH we still have some few beds available but other bigger hospitals are forced to turn away patients or refer them to other health facilities,” she said.

Covid-19 infections in Kenya has now crossed the 50,000-mark with the infections, which had been confined to mostly urban areas, now also ravaging communities in rural areas alike with Uasin Gishu, Kakamega, Kericho, Bungoma and Turkana now under sharp focus.

This has led to hospitals overflowing with patients with the virus spreading fast in urban and rural counties.

She is now calling for a change of strategy by the national government in the wake of the looming crisis with death toll also on the rise.

Kenya’s Covid-19 positivity rate hit an all-time high of 20.5 percent on Tuesday when 836 cases were reported from a sample of 4,076 yesterday.

In the past five days, a record 64 deaths have been reported, with the national toll now at 934 as of October 27, 2020.