Kenya: Why Coronavirus Cases Have Surged in Nakuru

Youths ride on an overloaded pick-up truck along James Gichuru Road in Nairobi on October 4 in blatant violation of traffic and Covid-19 rules.
5 October 2020

Nakuru's proximity to Nairobi, being a transit town and the newly opened Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) have been blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases.

In the past one week, the county has recorded an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the infection rate having doubled in the last 10 days. At least 11 patients are admitted to the ICU, mainly at Nakuru Level Five Hospital.

On Friday, Nakuru recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases countrywide at 75. Naivasha had 2), Nakuru East (22), Nakuru West (16), Subukia (9), Rongai (3) and Nakuru North (2). The county has so far recorded 1,090 cases after testing 16,467 samples.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui has warned that the trend of rising Covid-19 cases in the county is likely to get worse following the lifting of containment measures.

The rising cases are also linked to the Naivasha ICD. Governor Kinyanjui said the ICD, which is meant to be a blessing to locals, could end up being an epicentre of the virus.

Food handlers

The Nation has established that most of the cases are those of truck drivers, who have been tested at Maai Mahiu mobile testing unit. The other cases are linked to community transmissions in Nakuru town and various sub-counties.

Others who are highly affected by the surge are food handlers, inmates and health workers.

For instance, one of the latest cases in Naivasha town is that of a 34-year-old woman who works at a local restaurant.

She was put in isolation and the county's surveillance team is tracing her contacts, who include clients who have been visiting the restaurant. But this comes even as investigations by the Nation revealed that residents in Nakuru Town and other urban centres in the region have dropped guard against the virus.

Wearing masks

A spot-check in Njoro, Molo, Gilgil, Naivasha and other towns showed that residents are no longer wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing.

Health Executive Gichuki Kariuki has asked residents to continue adhering to measures put in place by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of the virus. He warned that the emerging attitude of 'back to normal' is increasingly putting more people at risk.

"The fight against the virus is not yet over. As an individual, it's your responsibility to observe the Health ministry guidelines as the number of positive cases is bound to rise. Stop behaving normally in the midst of a pandemic," said Dr Kariuki.

Dr Kariuki warned that, the emerging attitude of 'back to normal' is increasingly putting more people at risk. Dr Kariuki said the department of health is on high alert to ensure proper measures are taken to prevent spread of the virus. The rising cases are also linked to the Naivasha ICD.

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