…Health Minister praises nurses for going beyond duty
Guyana’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, as another 128 persons have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to the Ministry of Health’s updated COVID-19 Dashboard on Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases in the country has gone up to 14,659. Of these, however, only 1,777 cases are currently active. This includes 14 patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the remaining 1,763 persons in isolation; that is, 106 in institutional isolation and the other 1,657 in home isolation.
There are also another two persons in institutional quarantine.
The COVID-19 death toll remains at 331, and the number of persons who have recovered from the life-threatening disease has increased to 12,551 – 108 more recoveries than the figure reported on the previous day.
Meanwhile, Guyana has to date tested some 132,331 persons for the novel coronavirus, of whom 7,335 males and 7324 females were found to be positive.
Of the 128 cases recorded on Wednesday, 23 are from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); a whopping 68 are from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); 24 are from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); two are from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), and the remaining 11 are from Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice).
The figures in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) remained the same.
The Guyana Government has been aggressively rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign amidst a new wave of the novel coronavirus that is seeing a higher number of young people contracting the virus, and infected persons becoming sicker, with some requiring hospitalisation.
Government has been pushing to have more persons immunised in order to achieve heard immunity.
International Nurses Day
To this end, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday called on nurses who have not gotten their COVID-19 vaccine to do so, and those who have, to encourage others to get inoculated against the life-threatening virus.
His appeal came on the observance of International Nurses Day on Wednesday, during which the Health Minister lauded the nurses for going beyond the call of duty, especially during this unprecedented pandemic.
During his COVID-19 update on Wednesday, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony acknowledged the critical role nurses played and continue to play on the frontline of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
He noted that while Government ensured that the frontline workers, including nurses, are adequately equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and were the first to get immunised against COVID-19, there are still some who did not take the vaccine.
“Today, as we celebrate International Nurse’s Day, I want to make a special appeal to all our nurses to make sure that they go out and get their vaccines – those who haven’t done so as yet; and for those who have, to encourage others to get their vaccines, because we know that these vaccines work. They are safe, they are effective, and one way of protecting themselves and protecting their families is to ensure that they get their vaccines,” the Health Minister has posited.
Dr Anthony went on to acknowledge the efforts of nurses in providing excellent patient care as well as comforting families during this unprecedent time.
“Sometimes this goes unacknowledged. It’s tremendous work and takes a lot of personal toll sometimes. So, we want to thank them for all this work they have done. Many of them have gone beyond the call of duty. We want to thank them tremendously for all that they have done, the sacrifices they have made, and the contribution they have made,” the Minister asserted.
As at Tuesday, some 159,951 persons have received their first dose of the COVID-19 jab, that is 32.9 per cent of the adult population in Guyana; while some 16,004 persons are fully vaccinated, representing 3.3 per cent of the population of those 18 years and older who are eligible to get immunised.
The Health Minister, however, noted that while there are uptakes of the vaccine in some regions, the Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice region continues to lag behind.
“Region 10 is still, when we look at our numbers, lagging behind in terms of vaccinations. So that’s one area where we want to encourage groups in Region 10, community-minded citizens, influential people who can talk to others, to make sure that people take their vaccines, and that is a very important part of the response. So, we really want to appeal to those persons to assist us,” Minister Anthony stressed.
Low vaccine uptake has also been recorded in Regions One and Eight, while Region Six has the highest inoculation rate, with some 38 per cent of its population having been vaccinated.
Wear masks at workplaces
Meanwhile, health authorities around the world continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus disease 2019 as more research is being conducted on the deadly disease. In fact, only days ago, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognised that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is airborne and can be transmitted via aerosols (respiratory fluids), which are fine droplets released during respiration.
Speaking on this development during Wednesday’s update, Dr Anthony explained that aerosols remain suspended in the air for a long time due to poor ventilation or even crowded indoor settings.
“So somebody can be infected (with COVID-19) and leave the room but those viral particles (aerosols) will remain floating in the air in that room for more than an hour. Because of that, some who come into an empty room, they don’t know what is circulating and what is the content in the air, and if they don’t have on a mask, they can breathe that air and breathe in these viral particles. And if they do, then they can get infected,” the Health Minister outlined.
He went on to say, “…more and more, the reputable international agencies that deal with epidemics have concluded that aerosols play a very significant role in transmission, especially in indoor environments.”
On this note, Minister Anthony said that in taking this new evidence into consideration, the gazetted COVID-19 Emergency Measure (No. 17), which is in place until May 31, 2021, has been updated to make the wearing of masks in workplaces, especially in offices and enclosed spaces, a requirement.
“We have to keep warning people: ‘If you are working in an indoor environment, then it’s necessary for you to keep your masks on all the time, because you don’t know who you’re interfacing with and you don’t know what is circulating in that indoor environment’s air. So that’s something that people would have to keep thinking about when they’re in indoor environments,” the Health Minister has said. (G8)