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Kenya COVID-19 hospital gears up for surge in new infections

Machakos, Kenya: At the Machakos COVID-19 field hospital about an hour's drive from the Kenyan capital, workers struggle to put a giant metal tent frame in place to serve as a new ward.

Machakos county, which has 92 active cases of the virus, has already met the required minimum of 300 beds per county for COVID-19 patients, set by the national government. But as national figures surge, Machakos is preparing for more infections. Positive cases in Kenya have nearly doubled in the last two weeks to 15,601, mirroring a continental surge. Africa topped 750,000 cases on Wednesday.

"As the numbers increase, we will also see how to improve more, even for the other facilities," said David Mutunga, an official in the Machakos county's department of health emergency services.
The Machakos field hospital, set in a sports stadium whose stands serve as waiting bays for incoming patients before they are screened, features two large white tents on carpeted concrete slabs.
The two operational tents are together equipped with 200 beds. The new tent will have a capacity of 40, bringing the county's total for COVID patients to 475 beds when other facilities are included.
Patients needing critical care are housed at a nearby hospital. There were 11 in the intensive care unit of the facility when Reuters visited on Thursday.

It is not just officials in Machakos who are concerned by the rise in cases in Kenya and beyond. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who opened movement into and out of Nairobi earlier this month and lifted a ban on international commercial passenger flights from Aug. 1, has summoned top national and local government officials to a meeting on Monday, to discuss what to do about the recent surge

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