A shortage of testing materials is once again hampering the fight against Covid-19. And the situation is getting worse.
Government officials say they will not only have to scale down testing, but samples collected will also take longer to be processed, potentially hampering efforts to identify the infected in good time to rein in infections.
The Nation has learnt that State institutions like the National Influenza Lab and the Kenyatta National Hospital have a backlog of unprocessed tests.
Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman on Tuesday admitted the delay in remitting results is because of the temporary shortage of the testing materials.
"We have a backlog of samples that we need to test but we will clear them with time," Dr Aman said.
In the last two weeks, the government has been testing more than 3,000 samples a day, but the number is dropping; the samples reduced to 1,574 and 1,581 on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
"We are running low on materials and we will have to scale down on the number of tests that we are doing so that we don't completely stop testing as we wait for the consignment that we have ordered," he said.
Despite the delay, Dr Aman assured Kenyans their samples were well kept.
TESTED 82,946 SAMPLES
"All the samples are stored in the viral transport medium, frozen to keep it viable so that we do not have to go back to the individuals for the samples again," Dr Aman said.
Kenya now has 15 laboratories for Covid-19 testing including the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) facilities in Nairobi, Kilifi, Kericho, Busia and Kisumu.
So far, Kenya has tested 82,946 samples, of which 2,093 persons have tested positive.On Tuesday, out of 2,892 samples, 72 tested positive for the virus.
The new cases are spread in eight counties, with the capital Nairobi taking more than half (39), Busia (13), Mombasa (eight), Kajiado (four), Migori (three), Kiambu and Garissa (two each) and Kisumu (one).
In Nairobi, Kibra had the biggest number with 16 infections, followed by Embakasi South (eight), Ruaraka and Westlands (five each), Langata (two), and Embakasi West, Dagoretti North and Starehe recording one case each.
Mombasa's cases were discovered in Mvita, Kisauni and Changamwe, which recorded two cases each, and Likoni and Nyali with a case each.
In terms of age, the new patients are between 11 years f and 73 years old. The country has discharged 17 more patients, bringing the total to 499 recoveries.
Two more people succumbed to the virus bringing the number of fatalities to 71.