The coronavirus disease could spread to all counties in Kenya over the next few weeks, the Ministry of Health (MoH) warned on Monday while admitting that its strained testing capacity was most likely hindering the detection of the virus in remote regions.
The ministry said that Marsabit was the latest county to report a case, bringing the total affected devolved units to 38.
Only nine, including Samburu and Tana River, out of the 47 counties have not yet reported a case.
MoH Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said this while announcing 95 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours, pushing the total to 2,862.
Some 97 persons were also discharged, the highest recoveries to be released in a single day to date. This brings to 849 the number of persons discharged from hospitals in the country.
“It is true that the fact that a county has not registered a case doesn’t mean that Covid-19 is not being transmitted in the community. Going in there and testing on a large scale you are likely to find some cases. That is why our testing keeps advancing,” said Dr Aman.
“In fact, from a safe point of view, you go to (test in) hotspots but it is also important that you go to places where the virus has not been discovered because you want to know before it is too late if a place reported not to have a case may actually have cases,” he saidd.
“But I can tell you that in the next couple of weeks we will report cases in all the 47 counties; it is inevitable that it will happen.”
The announcement comes as the national government directed counties to ramp up infrastructure and increase the number of healthcare workers.
About Sh5 billion conditional grant is set to be sent to all 47 counties for expansion of infrastructure and in stocking up materials in readinesss for the peaking of the disease.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his speech on Saturday directed counties to have at least 300 beds in isolation centres for Covid-19 patients.
This comes as reports show that counties like Busia remain ill-prepared to handle the coronavirus patients.
Over the past few weeks, the virus has been detected in rural counties, including Murang’a, Embu, Uasin Gishu and Kisii, advancing from Mombasa and Nairobi that have been marked as the country’s hotspots based on the reported numbers.
In the latest count, 56 cases were reported in Mombasa, Nairobi had 13 while Busia and Kajiado had six and three respectively.
A case each was reported in Kitui, Kwale, Garissa and Marsabit.
These new cases are out of the 1,096 samples, revealing a shortage of testing kits.