Improper removal of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the rise in the number of asymptomatic patients have been cited as the leading causes of infection among healthcare workers.

Health CAS Rashid Aman said it was worrying since the number of healthcare workers getting infected is increasing,  yet they were trained to use the equipment.

“It will be unsafe if the numbers keep increasing because they are a threat to both the community and to their families. We need further training on doffing, which means removing the equipment,” Dr. Aman said.

Dr. Chibanzi Mwachonda, acting Secretary-General, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, said more than 60 percent of the infections are work-related.

So far, 81 healthcare workers have been affected across the country, although no fatality has been recorded.

Mombasa is leading with 41, followed by Nairobi (31), Kiambu (four), Nyeri (three)  with Machakos, Kajiado, and Laikipia recording a case each.

But the ministry insists only 72 of the workers contracted the virus in the course of duty, with 19 being managed in different facilities in the country.

“As they risk their lives to attend to us, they are also at risk of getting the virus. They need to be more cautious while attending to asymptomatic patients and while doffing,” Dr Aman said.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests two methods for removing PPE: a gloves-first strategy and an approach where the gown and gloves are removed together.

The CDC says doffing mistakes include touching the inside of the gown or gloves with a gloved hand. If a caregiver reaches beneath a gown to scratch an itch, it can transmit the virus to clean clothing or skin. Another mistake is failure to fasten the gown at the neck.

“Randomly removing a gown or wrestling with it to get it off as quickly as possible might be tempting. Failing to take care of gown removal, however, can easily spread the virus. Touching a gown with bare hands. If a bare-handed caregiver brushes against an unclean gown after a procedure, the virus collected on the gown can get picked up by the caregiver at the point of contact,” CDC says.