18 persons succumb to COVID-19 in 1 week

…135 new cases in 24h
…as CARPHA finds UK, US COVID variants in Caribbean

An alarming coronavirus death rate has been recorded for April, with 18 persons succumbing to the disease in just one week.
Two more persons have died from the virus on Wednesday – taking the death toll to 252.
The Health Ministry announced the latest fatalities on Thursday as a 59-year-old male from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and a 73-year-old male from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). They both died at respective medical facilities.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony

From 2344 swabs that were taken for analysis, 135 persons have tested positive. The total confirmed cases are now at 10,853 – 5,526 males and 5,327 females. Of this amount, 9,517 persons have recovered. There are 1,097 active cases, 13 in the Intensive Care Unit, 69 in institutional isolation, and 1,015 in home isolation. Another 10 persons are in institutional quarantine.
Guyana has tested 96,871 persons thus far. A breakdown shows that 87 of the new positives were detected in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and 18 in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara). There were eight in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), seven in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), seven in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), four in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and four in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Cases in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) remain at 1028, 962 and 241 respectively.
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said during Thursday’s COVID update that regions with high active cases are being monitored. Presently, Region Four leads with the highest number of active cases.
“Region Four has seen the highest number of active cases, but we also have significant amount of active cases in Region Three, and we have seen active cases in Region Seven. Most of the other regions are pretty stable, but we continue to monitor them and we continue to do testing.”

Abide by the guidelines
Notwithstanding, he said the guidelines and implemented measures should be followed in all regions, so as to prevent transmission. In recent times, hospitalisation has increased, and the younger population is also at risk.
The Minister stressed, “It’s in all the regions. If you don’t abide by these simple rules, you are going to have transmission, and that is what we’re seeing. Vaccines help to reduce the severity of the disease, and therefore, if people get vaccinated, we’ll see less people getting into the hospitals. We have seen an increase in hospitalisation, and to avoid that, we want people to get vaccinated.”
Only Wednesday, Dr Anthony said the authorities are not sure if there is a new COVID-19 variant in the country, which is resulting in more hospitalisations and more younger people becoming infected.
He noted that the only way to know this is via genetic sequencing of samples, and arrangements are being made to send samples to CARPHA for testing.

COVID variants
Meanwhile, CARPHA said on Thursday that it has found COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as another variant similar to that of the Brazil variant, from samples sent by several Caribbean countries, but did not specify which.
“To date, CARPHA has detected cases of the UK variant in several Member States. While no cases of the Brazil or South Africa variant have been detected in the Region, US variants of concern and a variant similar to the Brazil variant have been detected,” the agency stated.
Since December 2020, CARPHA has been working with the University of the West Indies, St Augustine on genome sequencing. Countries have been requested to send an allocation of ten samples per month, which meet the requirements for sequencing.
“CARPHA urges Member States to remain vigilant and continue to enhance their surveillance capacity to screen, identify, test, quarantine, isolate and trace contacts of new cases, supported by public health prevention and control measures. During this critical phase of the pandemic and beyond, CARPHA will provide technical support, advice and the highest quality service to help inform decision makers in its Member States,” a statement added. (G12)