COG links decreasing COVID-19 positivity rate to lack of testing kits

COG links decreasing COVID-19 positivity rate to lack of testing kits

The Council of Governors now says that Kenya’s decreasing COVID-19 positivity rate is as a result of lack of testing kits.

According to Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, who chairs the council’s health committee, testing across all counties has slowed down due to lack of testing kits.

“This therefore means that county governments have no control over the increasing number of infections,” the Kisumu Governor said in a statement on Wednesday.

He warned that the virus is spreading rapidly and could overstretch the county health facilities.

“We therefore urge the Ministry of Health to avail rapid testing kits (antigens) and PCR COVID-19 testing equipment to all counties to stem the spread of the virus,” he added.

Latest statistics show that Kenya has a 10.8 percent COVID-19 positivity rate with total number of cases at 152,523, while total number of deaths are 2,519.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta announced new travel restrictions and zoning of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru counties on March 26 this year, the positivity rate had hit 22% compared to January’s 2%.

On Wednesday, the COG said they have engaged the Health Ministry to avail testing kits to counties to ensure proper documentation of the magnitude of the disease within the communities and proper reporting of the factual situation which will then lead to proper response measures.

Vaccination in counties

In terms of COVID-19 vaccination, he said a total of 874,932 doses have been received out of which 642,751 doses have been administered as follows: healthcare workers 136,084; security personnel 52,603; teachers 97,786 and ‘others ‘356,278.

“We note with concern that there is low uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine by the target population in phase 1. Therefore as County Governments we shall enhance advocacy measures to increase public confidence on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Prof. Nyong’o said.

He also revealed current bed capacity of counties as follows: 7,751 beds in 142 isolation centers out of which 6,890 beds are available for patients; 375 beds in ICUs out of which 321 beds are available for new patients and 167 beds in HDUs out of which 107 beds are available for new patients.

The Council of Governors applauded the county governments of Nakuru, Embu, Lamu, Machakos and Nyeri for having rolled out interventions geared towards supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to grow the economies during this third wave of the pandemic.

However, according to the council, the National Treasury had only disbursed a total of Ksh. 10.6billion to county governments as of April 15, 2021.

The COG revealed that the current outstanding amount owed to county governments is Ksh. 83billion as follows:

  • Ksh. 3.9billion is owed to Nairobi City County for the months of December and January
  • Ksh. 26billion is owed to all the 47 counties for the month of February
  • Ksh. 25billion is owed to all the 47 Counties for the month of March
  • Ksh. 28 billion is owed to all the 47 Counties for the month of April

The Council of Governors said it will work with the county assemblies to engage the National Treasury for the immediate release of these funds.

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