Active COVID-19 cases stand at 588

…30 positives recorded in 24h

From 108 samples that were tested for the novel coronavirus, 30 returned positive on Tuesday. The total confirmed cases have moved to 8262, of which, only 588 are active.
The Health Ministry’s dashboard showed that deaths are still at 188, after a 71-year-old man from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and a 70-year-old male from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) died on Monday.
In the facilities, eight patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, 42 in institutional isolation, 22 in institutional quarantine and 538 in home isolation. Some 7486 of the 4287 males and 3975 females have recovered completely. To date, Guyana has tested 55,298 persons.

New cases
From the new cases, two were from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), three from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), two from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 22 from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and one from Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
The number of cases in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Five (Demerara-Mahaica), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) remain at 1017; 233; 224; 245 and 641.
Persons who have taken the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine locally will be asked to return in about 12 weeks for their booster shot, since a longer time between the doses increases their efficacy.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony clarified that this is because the World Health Organisation has backed reports that the efficacy moves up from 63 per cent if the second shot is delivered within eight to 12 weeks.
“While the published results have been at 63 [per cent], if you extend the interval between the two doses then the efficacy is going to be much higher. The way that we’re administering these vaccines here is that we’ve increased the interval using the WHO’s guidance. After the first dose, you’ll get your booster dose at about 12 weeks’ time. Based on the science that we have seen, the efficacy is going to be much higher than 63 per cent,” the Minister said during Monday’s coronavirus briefing.
In the first instance, it was recommended that the second dose be administered four weeks after the first shot. However, the time between the two doses was stretched a little longer in the subgroup trials, significantly raising the protection from the virus. This is the reason the WHO’s scientific community is recommending a larger time gap.
Last week, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) issued interim recommendations for use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (AZD1222).  WHO has assessed the quality, safety and efficacy data, risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements.
The Organisation had said, “The AZD1222 vaccine against COVID-19 has an efficacy of 63.09 per cent against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Longer dose intervals within the eight to 12 weeks range are associated with greater vaccine efficacy.”
The Ministry last Thursday commenced the distribution of the first doses of the Covidshield-AstraZeneca vaccines to frontline healthcare workers in Guyana. (G12)