2 persons in ICU, cases recorded in Regions 3, 4, 6
…as Guyana projects 1400 cases
Guyana is projected to confirm a whopping 1400 cases of the novel coronavirus, of which a majority will be moderate.
During a press conference on Monday, caretaker Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence said this conclusion was drawn after using a model from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
“We have used the PAHO model to determine the number of projected cases for Guyana, which stands at 1,400. Of that number, we will be preparing for 100 persons requiring ICU, 300 isolation beds across the country and capacity for 730 beds for institutional quarantine,” Lawrence revealed at the Police Training Centre, Eve Leary.
She went on to say that approximately 81 per cent of the cases are expected to be moderate, 14 per cent severe and five per cent critical.
At present, there have been one confirmed case in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); six in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and one in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne). Of these cases, five were locally transmitted.
Of the seven persons in isolation, two were transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while one case proved inconclusive. Another 36 persons are currently in institutional quarantine.
As of March 30, Guyana recorded eight positive cases of the coronavirus, including one death. And while there have been over 800 calls to the Public Health Ministry’s hotline number, only 46 persons have been tested.
Director of the Disease Control Unit, Dr Nadia Liu stated that only persons who present symptoms were being tested, since timing can influence the accuracy of the results.
“There are three scenarios or parameters that we use to identify or to classify someone as a suspected case…We are almost testing anybody who has had a travel history, community transmission, signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19,” Dr Liu outlined.
She added, “It’s not a case of ‘if I know you or you know me’ that you can get a test. No. You have to fit the criteria. Once you fit one of the three criteria, we will rule you in or rule you out using the test. If they’re not manifesting signs and symptoms, you cannot be tested. You have to wait.”
While it takes eight hours for the test results to be processed, quality control set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) causes an extension to about one day. Nevertheless, the Director stated that the results were wholly credible.
“There’s a quality control measure that we have to follow, so usually the turnaround time from the time we take the sample to the time we receive it at the lab is approximately 24 hours…When we say you’re COVID-19 positive, we sure beyond the shadow of a doubt you’re positive,” Dr Liu asserted.
All testing for COVID-19 is done at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory in the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) compound.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an assessment ranked Guyana among the few countries in the Region least prepared to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly the negative effects it would have on the economy and tourism.
Additionally, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle has noted the work of surveillance officers to track the movements of persons who have tested positive. This includes retracing their steps and critically, the persons they would have interacted with.
At the airports, infrared thermometers are being used to detect the temperature of persons after disembarking.
Nevertheless, she stated that all suspected cases were quarantined until they were cleared of the disease. The recently-discovered cases were detected using surveillance and the hotline mechanism.
Meanwhile, PAHO representative, Dr William Adu-Krow debunked claims that animals were carriers of the virus. In fact, he said animals were more likely to contract the virus from an infected individual.
“To date, there is no evidence of a pet giving COVID-19 to their owner. This is the time that we have to practise social distancing. We need to bond with our pets. Having said that, sick COVID-19 humans have transmitted COVID-19 to their dogs, two of them,” he clarified.
Around the world, many animals have been left neglected by their owners in light of the pandemic. He said persons can still continue to care for their animals after sanitising properly.
“We need to use hygienic practices. You can play with your pet, but use your hand sanitiser. I would say that if you’re positive, please stay away from your pets,” Dr Adu-Krow highlighted.
At the time, he urged Guyanese to practice physical distancing in efforts to contain any possible spread. Across the country, densely populated areas have introduced a curfew while businesses have sought to implement mechanisms in an aim to flatten the infection curve.
Globally, there have been an alarming 634,835 cases of the coronavirus, with 29,975 deaths. With no cure expected in the near future, the infection and death toll have been climbing rapidly every day. The United States of America tops the list for the highest confirmed number of cases.