Kenya: Fluctuating New Coronavirus Cases in Kenya Puzzle Experts

Testing for coronavirus is carried out at Kenya Coast National Polytechnic on May 14, 2020.
7 October 2020

As the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to rise, the Nation has observed repeated patterns of peaks and valleys.

The patterns have puzzled experts, with many saying variations in testing and data reporting are their main drivers.

The Covid-19 curve continued fluctuating Wednesday, with 321 new cases and five deaths reported.

The figures raised Kenya's total to 39,907 cases and 748 deaths after 569,678 tests.

In one of his daily briefings, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman had said it was too early to conclude Kenya had flattened the curve as the number of tests kept fluctuating "due to limitations in the supply of testing kits".

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) acting secretary-general Chibanzi Mwachonda said testing practices need to be improved.

"The challenge remains lack of reagents. This affects the number of tests done and the resultant cases declared. There are also challenges in accessing testing facilities," he said.

Kenya Medical Association president Andrew Were said lack of extraction kits in most facilities has affected testing.

Increase surveillance

"We need to increase surveillance and follow all measures now more than ever because the cases are bound to go higher with the reopening of schools. There are many asymptomatic cases. Private hospitals are testing more people, especially those travelling," he said.

Aga Khan Hospital chief of staff Majid Twahir said though the number of patients has reduced, contact tracing has contributed to the fluctuating numbers.

By only focusing on patients with symptoms, many cases are left out.

"Health seeking behaviour plays a role also because only symptomatic patients come for testing. Lack of mass testing is another reason for these figures," Dr Twahir said.

The Ministry of Health reported 22 cases on Monday and 53 on September 30.

The tests done in the two Mondays was, however, minimal at 595 and 1,107 respectively.

Over the past week, new cases fluctuated between 22 and 321 daily.

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