14-mth-old toddler among 6 COVID deaths

…865 new infections detected in 24h
…booster uptake to slow down infections

Guyana’s death toll from COVID-19 has jumped to 1081 after six more persons succumbed to the virus, the Health Ministry reported on Friday.
The Ministry stated that a 58-year-old woman from Region Three; a 52-year-old man from Region Six and a 94-year-old man from Region Four succumbed on January 13.
On January 12, two women – an 83-year-old and 77-year-old from Region Six, died. In addition, a 14-month-old baby boy died on January 11. Two of these persons were fully vaccinated, two unvaccinated while the status of the others is unknown.
However, new statistics provided by the Ministry showed that 865 new positive cases were reported as the country navigates through this new wave, taking the confirmed cases in Guyana to 49,056. Of this figure, 22,841 are males with 26,215 females.
There are 15 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 145 in institutional isolation, 8835 in home isolation and seven in institutional quarantine. In total, 38,980 persons recovered completely.
A breakdown of the new cases showed that one was detected in Region One (Barima-Waini), 38 in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); 157 in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); a staggering 532 in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); 25 in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); 67 in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); one in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 44 in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
There were no new cases reported in Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).

Booster uptake
Meanwhile, booster COVID-19 shots will equip Guyanese with more protection than the standard two doses, amid the growing intensity of the Omicron wave that is causing higher infections.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony is urging Guyanese to take the booster doses if they are completely immunised against the novel virus. This, he noted, will reduce the risk of infection against the highly-transmissible Omicron variant that is circulating. Currently, over 24,000 persons have taken their booster jab.
With this latest wave, one of the characteristics of the mutations that we have seen with Omicron is that even if you had two doses of the vaccine, it would not be as effective as if you got two doses plus a booster. That is why we have been encouraging people to ensure that they get the booster. With the booster, you’re more protected against Omicron.
While it has been almost one year since the rollout of vaccination commenced, the Minister pointed out that the infodemic is still a challenge for authorities.
“It is a big problem. The WHO would have identified this early in the pandemic and they call it an ‘infodemic’ meaning that people can use the speed of the internet and the reach of the internet to very quickly, convey wrong information and with that wrong information, it takes a lot of effort to try to undo that. Unfortunately, there are people who go on the internet, look at these things and some of the people who present them, present them in a very believable way,” said Dr Anthony.
Speaking on efforts, he said countries would have to implement strategies to combat the issues of misinformation within the public domain and on social media.
“The medical authorities around the world have had a big struggle in trying to counter the wrong information that is being put out and trying to get people to do the right thing. It is an ongoing struggle and I guess in the kind of globalised world we’re living in, we’ll have to come up with strategies of how to minimise the effect of this type of disinformation and misinformation.”
In Guyana, 416,994 adults or 81.3 per cent have taken a first dose while 303,373 or 59.1 per cent are completely immunised. For children between the age of 12 to 17, 22,309 or 30.6 per cent are completely vaccinated.
Government was expecting the arrival of 28,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, a donation from Spain.
All Guyanese are reminded to observe the protocols of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures, which are in effect until January 31, 2022.
This order emphasises the need for everyone, 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19; the need for correct and consistent use of a face mask when leaving your home; the importance of maintaining the six feet physical distance from others; and the need for good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If anyone is displaying any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 or needs any additional information, they are asked to contact the COVID-19 Hotline 231-1166, 226-7480 or 624-6674 immediately or visit www.health.gov.gy