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Govt orders hospitals countrywide to cancel all elective surgeries

The Ministry of Health has ordered all hospitals across the country to cancel all non-emergency procedures as they deal with staff shortages and a dangerously low supply of protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter addressed to all the county executive committee members of health, the government has recommended that hospitals work to postpone or cancel all elective and non-urgent surgical procedures.

“Following the increase in the number of confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 in the country, there is necessity to direct all our available resources towards combating further spread and prepare for intensive management of patients who may need critical care,” read part of the directive.

The ministry added that this would require use of the available human and material resources at their disposal which will be quite rigorous.

“This letter is to hereby request you to cancel all elective surgical procedures except Obstetric cases at your facilities to redirect resources towards combating this disease.”

Elective surgery or elective procedure is surgery that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency.

This comes as the government moves to the next phase of its plans to limit the spread of the disease. Kenyans have been warned to expect an increase in demand for intensive care.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday said two patients out of the 31 who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Kenya are in critical condition and admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In a press briefing, the Health CS said the two male patients are admitted at the Aga Khan hospital’s ICU, noting that one of them is a Kenyan and the other a French national.

He added that 156 samples had been tested in the last 24 hours and all tested negative leaving the total number of people who have been confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19 at 38.

He said the cases are spread out across five counties with Nairobi leading at 21 cases, Kilifi (six), Mombasa (two), Kaijiado (one) and Kwale (one).

Of the positive cases, 19 are male and 12 are female.