Nakuru has recorded 196 deaths from COVID-19 related complications in the last 30 days, making it the highest number of monthly infections since the first case was reported in March 2020.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui expressed concern that a new all high wave of Covid-19 infections was sweeping through the devolved unit with fatalities and hospital admissions rising at an alarming rate.
Speaking to the media at the County headquarters during monthly briefings on the Covid-19 status, Kinyanjui further indicated that the pandemic was spreading at an alarming rate in rural areas. He singled out Kuresoi South Sub-County where 31 people succumbed to the deadly virus in the month of August.
“We have noted with concern that rural Sub-Counties of Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North, Bahati and Gilgil where a significant proportion of Nakuru’s elderly population live are becoming new epicenters of the disease. Other hotspots have been mapped in Naivasha and Nakuru East Sub-Counties,” the governor indicated.
Over the past 30 days, 2005 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the devolved unit, 41 were admitted in Intensive Care Units (ICU) while 110 were put on oxygen support. Kinyanjui revealed that of the confirmed cases, 23.5 percent were teachers, learners and support staff from educational institutions.
He said his administration in the past one year had waived hospitals bills for Covid-19 patients running into over Sh 500 million, a situation he said was threatening delivery of affordable and quality health care.
The governor expressed concern that a majority of Kenyans had thrown caution to the wind, disregarding the Ministry of Health’s guidelines aimed at containing the spread of the disease.
“We are concerned with the laxity among Kenyans in observing Covid-19 prevention protocols; our people no longer practice hand washing, social distancing or wearing masks. We are at risk of suffering deadlier effects of the virus,” noted the governor.
“Apparently many Kenyans have equated gradual reopening of the country to the death of the virus. We need to remind our people that even with a vaccine in the nearest health facility, Covid-19 will not go away,” warned Kinyanjui.
He observed that ordinary Kenyans were putting their lives on the line by going about their business as usual in major open-air markets, supermarkets, public service vehicles and even in religious gatherings.
“Schools were reopened, worship congregations allowed and curfews relaxed on the premise that Kenyans would continue to observe containment measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. This is not happening,” observed Mr Kinyanjui
He also faulted some players in the hospitality industry for disregarding Covid-19 protocols and warned that his administration would revoke licenses of those found culpable.
More public health surveillance teams, Kinyanjui revealed, had been dispatched to Naivasha, a popular conferencing destination.
While raising concerns on how public vehicles have gone back to carrying full capacity, Governor Kinyanjui sounded a warning that the situation may worsen if people do not change their behaviour and attitude. He added that his administration would not hesitate to take decisive action against notorious matatu saccos if they don’t rein in their crew.
He stated that a disturbing trend was emerging in villages where people were now greeting each other through handshakes and hugs during funerals, parties and other social gatherings.
“All Kenyans should play a part in curbing the transmission of covid-19. We all feel deeply inclined to show family love and care for friends. Yet it is also in these actions that we may end up contracting or passing on the virus to the next person,” he counseled.
“As a county government, we will continue playing the facilitative role. This includes early detection through targeted testing and isolation; strict enforcement of the prevailing guidelines as well as requisite education and leading by example,” affirmed the governor.