11 more dorm students test positive for COVID-19

…41 new cases recorded from 518 tests

Another 11 students who returned to their dormitories on Friday have tested positive for COVID-19.
This is according to Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony during the coronavirus update, adding that this is in addition to one more teacher and five auxiliary staffers. The total positives from the dorm facilities are 30 students, 11 teachers and 13 auxiliary staffers.
“As of today, we have 30 students who tested positive. We have 11 teachers who came back to teach and they have tested positive and we have 13 other staff at the dorms who are cooking and so forth,” Dr Anthony said.
These current cases are spread across Regions One (Barima-Waini), Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
On Thursday, a total of 19 students, 10 teachers and eight staffers turned up positive. These persons have all been isolated at facilities across the country. Nevertheless, the Ministry is continuing this testing exercise as more students emerge from remote areas.
“We are expecting some of the students in the far-off areas to come to those dorms and when they come, they will be tested. So, these numbers might go up. I think the education system is expecting over the weekend that they will have students coming in.”
On Friday, some 41 new cases of the novel virus were confirmed from 518 samples. Overall, there are now 6510 confirmed cases since COVID-19 was reported in Guyana back in March 2020.
There are six patients in the designated Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 41 in institutional isolation, 296 persons in home isolation, and 43 in institutional quarantine. Recoveries are up to 6000 and deaths remain at 167.
A breakdown showed that 12 new cases were detected in Region One, one in Region Two, one in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 13 in Region Four, two in Region Five, one in Region Seven, four in Region Eight, four in Region Nine and three in Region 10.
A few weeks ago, there were reports of a more transmissible strain of the coronavirus, detected first in the United Kingdom but it has already spread to the United States. Then a few days ago, health officials in South Africa pointed at the detection of anther strain.
Dr Anthony gave his input on these developments, as he said, “It has been postulated that these strains of virus can cause a more severe form of the disease, meaning that more people would get sick. These things would happen. Mutations would happen and the only way we can detect these mutations is that we have to take that virus and be able to go through and do the sequencing to see what are the nucleotides that its made up of and how these are arranged.”
He said Guyana does not have the capacity to conduct genetic sequencing and due to this, samples would have to be sent to other laboratories if health officials wish to have it done.
“In our case, we have worked out an arrangement with CARPHA so that CAPRHA can do the sequencing for us. We haven’t sent any samples but we do have the arrangement if we need to send samples,” he added.
It was announced this week that the National COVID-19 Task Force Secretariat (NCTFS) will be moving to have greater enforcement of the COVID-19 measures, in order to keep the population safe until a vaccine is available.
The Ministry and NCTFS are relying on the cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders to ensure measures can be more effectively employed. In a nutshell, the Joint Services will be amplifying their current campaign and visiting communities which have reportedly breached the national protocols. (G12)