Since 12 March 2020 when Kenya reported the first COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed a total of 26,436 cases with 420 deaths (case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.6 per cent), as of 9 August. Overall, 65 per cent of the confirmed cases are males, with 33 per cent of the total being in age group of 30-39 years old. Of the total cases, 98 per cent are local transmissions, including at least 733 infections among health workers. MoH attributes the high rate of infection among private health facility health-care workers to inadequate adherence to infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines and inadequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs). All the 47 counties in the country have now reported COVID-19 infections, with Samburu reporting nine cases for the first time in July. Nairobi City with 60 per cent of the reported cases, and Mombasa county (9 per cent) continue to have the highest attack rates of COVID-19 at 360 and 178 per 100,000 people respectively, when compared to 55.6 per 100,000 for the whole country.
COVID-19 infections in the refugee camps have reportedly more than doubled from 23 cases on 21 July to 52 confirmed cases, with two deaths and at least 16 recoveries as of 6 August. Dadaab refugee camps have recorded two additional cases since 21 July, bringing the total to 19 with the two deaths. Sixty-four people are reportedly in quarantine in Dadaab. In Kakuma, the COVID-19 infections have more than quadrupled from six to 26 cases, of which four have reportedly recovered.
On 27 July, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the extension of the night curfew for another 30 days, following a spike in the COVID-19 infections. Kenya recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 cases, with 796 new cases on 24 July. The President further directed a ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in all restaurants for a further 30 days and resumed commercial international passenger flights on 1 August.
Risk communication, delayed laboratory testing, lack of contact tracing/reporting and emerging stigma and discrimination against people discharged from quarantine centres, are among the key challenges identified in the response. The long turnaround time for relaying laboratory results to clients is causing delay in public health action. Uptake of other essential health services has reportedly reduced since the COVID -19 pandemic, with preliminary results from an MoH Study (yet to be released ) recording a 30 per cent decline in outpatient visits between March and May, and 20 per cent decline in immunisation services, particularly Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DPT3). Attendance at health facilities by those with chronic conditions reportedly reduced by 40 per cent, raising concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on management of HIV, TB, diabetes, and other conditions. The study further records a significant rise in gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 5,000 rape survivors reportedly received medical treatment at various health facilities across the country from March to June, of whom 70 per cent are children, with 95 per cent being female. In some counties, including Wajir, Turkana, Kisii, Nandi, Lamu, Homabay and Kisumu, there was a 30 per cent increase in incidents of violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to information provided by MoH during the daily government COVID-19 briefing. Rising gender-based violence has been a serious concern in Kenya since measures were imposed to contain COVID-19. On 6 July, the President ordered the National Crime Research Centre to probe the escalating cases of gender-based violence and “the worrying trend of cases where the girl child has been disempowered”.
A new cholera outbreak is active in Turkana County, with 36 cumulative cases reported since June, out of which 19 were reported in July. This is the fourth wave in the county since the beginning of the year, bringing the total cholera cases in Turkana in 2020 to 273 cases with 1 death (CFR 0.4 per cent), out of the total 705 cumulative cases and 13 deaths that were reported countrywide since 1 January 2020 in Garissa, Wajir, Turkana, Murang’a and Marsabit. The outbreak is reportedly under control in all other counties, according to MoH. The national government in conjunction with implementing partners continue to support affected counties with cholera supplies and has operationalised Cholera treatment centres in the affected areas to support timely treatment of cases and minimize further spread of the disease.
Outbreak of measles are still active in five counties: West Pokot, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River and Kilifi, with a cumulative 447 cases reported, including 48 confirmed and two deaths (CFR 0.5 per cent), according to MoH. Interventions by the County Health Departments in the affected counties include contact tracing, stocking of adequate doses of measles – rubella vaccines and vitamin A, maintenance of cold chain equipment, sensitization of the public and health workers and treatment of the cases.