…44 tests conducted, 32 quarantined, 6 isolated
…no COVID death at West Dem Hospital
Guyana has recorded three new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Saturday, raising the country’s total number from five to eight.
Caretaker Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence made the revelation on Saturday. While the number of deaths remains at one, some 32 persons have been subjected to institutional quarantine.
Apart from these figures, another six persons were placed in institutional isolation by health authorities.
“The number of confirmed cases has moved from five to eight with the number of deaths remaining at one. The total number of persons who have been tested has moved from 39 to 44. With regard to persons in institutional quarantine, the number is now 32, while the number of persons on home quarantine has not changed,” she announced.
Up until Friday, Guyana only had five positive cases of the virus, with the first one detected on March 11 following the death of a 52-year-old woman.
Lawrence said that the country is equipped with some 1800 testing kits, the plan now is to acquire ventilators for level three cases. This is to boost response to the deadly virus, which is rapidly devastating countries around the world.
“I am not referring to health facilities but to the levels of illness which are categorised as mild, requiring no hospitalisation; moderate, requiring hospitalisation and severe where more specialised care is a necessity,” Lawrence said.
Guyana’s first imported case died at the Georgetown Public Hospital after travelling to Guyana from New York. A short period after, four of her family members including a teen relative have tested positive. They were all quarantined at a state facility.
Since then, health authorities have prepared four facilities, which can accommodate some 350 persons. All ten administrative regions also have the capacity to cater for an additional 134 persons.
There have been reservations by citizens regarding statistics coming from the Ministry, after confirmed reports that four Cubans tested positive for the coronavirus after leaving Guyana.
Reports coming out from the Cuban Health Ministry stated that an eight-year-old child and her mother were two of the latest to be tested positive. They both travelled to Cuba from Guyana on March 21. A 31-year-old Cuban national, who arrived in Cuba from Guyana on the same day, also tested positive. All three persons have been hospitalised.
Other than the preparations by health facilities across the country, other stakeholders have instituted measures to combat the spread of this disease. Three sensitisation sessions were completed and will continue with businesses, banks and other entities.
Public places will be visited to ensure that the correct protocols are implemented. This is coupled with the regular sanitisation of markets, border complexes and other public buildings.
The Public Health Minister said that in recent time, there were visits to several non-conventional ports of entry.
“These visits revealed that the Brazilian army is present at several of the popular crossings and Guyanese Police are at several. The task force continues to work with the police, army and immigration to assist with the monitoring of these crossing.”
Additionally, village leaders have instituted two checkpoints at Sand Creek and Aishalton to monitor entries into the country. Apart from hygienic precautions and urges to practice social distancing, a majority of the population has continued their daily routine as per normal.
The United Nations (UN) recently called on the incumbent Government to urgently introduce more stringent measures to fight the disease.
In a statement on Friday, the UN expressed grave concerns that social gatherings are still continuing even after advisories were issued. The Government was reminded that Guyana is not insulated against the deadly virus, therefore, prevention is critical and complacency should not be tolerated.
No death at WCD
There were talks on Friday of a suspected case of the coronavirus at the West Demerara Regional Hospital in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara). The male patient would have visited the facility on Thursday and later succumbed.
Nurses and other health workers had refused to enter the compound when they showed up to work on Friday, insisting that proper sanitisation methods be followed.
However, the Regional Administration confirmed on Saturday that upon testing, the results were negative for COVID-19.
“The patient who passed away Thursday night at the West Demerara Regional Hospital and was a suspect of COVID-19 did not die from COVID-19. The test results have confirmed that the deceased was never infected with COVID-19,” the Region Three Administration clarified.
While the Ministry has claimed that all major facilities are equipped with both medical supplies and disinfecting agents, the medical staff lamented that there are insufficient cleaning supplies to ensure that the surroundings are kept hygienic.
“A next thing is that we don’t have enough things to work with, like sanitiser, bleach, Lysol, alcohol and those things so how are we working? However, they promise to sanitise the place…We need to have the place sanitised,” one of the nurses told this publication.
Globally, the number of confirmed cases from 201 countries and territories stands at 621,636, with 28,658 deaths. In the region of the Americas, the total number of confirmed cases climbed from 81,139 to 100,314 with the number of deaths moving at a rapid rate from 1176 to 1485.
For now, Guyana’s ports of entry have been locked down. Local health authorities have advised that if anyone is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, they should contact the hotline on 231-1166, 624-3067, 624-2819 or 624-6674 and a team would be sent to their location.