– another admitted for respiratory tract infection
Another Chinese miner died on Wednesday at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), while several others who were brought out from the manganese operation site (GMI) at Matthews Ridge remain patients at that medical institution.
On Thursday, when Guyana Times visited the surgical bloc, it was observed that the miners were being kept in an isolated area that was cordoned off. A doctor was at the time administering checks on the patients; however, he was not allowed to offer any updates on the miners’ condition.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry, in a statement on Thursday, confirmed the death of the second miner, while stating, “We are saddened at the passing of another worker.” This miner died from complications associated with leptospirosis on Wednesday night while undergoing treatment at the GPHC, the statement added.
Another mining employee, who was also tested positive for leptospirosis, is in “critical but stable condition,” an Internal Medicine Specialist at the tertiary institution confirmed on Thursday.
Government’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, in the statement, highlighted that while two of those patients were successfully treated and discharged from GPHC, Regional Health Officer Dr Ramjas has updated the MoPH that another GMI employee has been admitted at the Pakera Hospital, and is undergoing treatment for a respiratory tract infection. This patient is said to be in a stable condition.
Dr Shamdeo Persaud has iterated that all precautionary measures are still in place at the Matthews Ridge tunnel site and its immediate surroundings, and he said essential medical supplies are in stock to treat employees of the mining firm and residents of the area.
‘Since last week’s outbreak, the area has been deemed a ‘Red Zone’ by Ministry of Public Health authorities, and “no one is allowed to enter the site,” Dr Persaud reminded on Thursday.
The CMO has also stated that the hospital is continuing its evaluation of the miners, and additional tests are being done by CARPHA to obtain a diagnosis for some of the patients who were not tested positive for Leptospirosis.
Reports are that a post mortem examination conducted on the 2 miners — named Zhong Zhenglong, 47, and Zi Zheng Guo, also 47 — on Thursday morning revealed that they died from haemorrhagic pneumonia as a result of leptospirosis. The more than one dozen affected miners exhibited symptoms of pain, fever, headache and respiratory distress.
The Matthews Ridge Hospital, which was shut down earlier this week for sanitisation, has resumed operations even as a medical team continues to assess the other miners who were working in the mining tunnel where the workers fell ill.
Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, when approached by the media for a comment on the diagnosis of the other ill Chinese workers, subject Minister Volda Lawrence refused to comment on the issue. However, she did confirm on Tuesday that several tests were done on the miners, and samples were sent to the Caribbean Reference Lab in St Vincent and the Grenadines for further evaluation.
During the interview on Tuesday, Lawrence noted that there were no reports of any new cases at health centres in any neighbouring villages.
The manganese mining company has been instructed to halt further exploration until the Public Health Ministry and a team from the Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Social Protection Ministry advise further on the matter.