Another COVID-19 death, 24 new cases recorded

A 66-year-old man of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) has succumbed to COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
His death now brings the total number of deaths from the viral illness to 142. In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry expressed condolences to the family of the deceased and said that it would make every effort to provide all the necessary support during this difficult time to render any assistance needed. The Ministry also said that officials have contacted all relatives and persons to facilitate contact tracing and rapid assistance to everyone who may have been exposed to the now-deceased person.
On Tuesday evening, the Ministry announced that an 11-year-old girl, who had cancer and died after testing positive for COVID-19, has been classified as a COVID-19 related death.
The child, who lived in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital on November 4 and died on November 6.
Initially, health officials had said that the child’s death would not be listed as a COVID-19 death, but on Tuesday the Ministry said that in keeping with guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the case has been re-classified as a COVID-19 related death.
The section of the WHO guidelines relating to the classification of deaths states that “a death due to COVID-19 is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (eg trauma)”.

New cases
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, 24 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, bringing the total confirmed cases to 4914 as of November 18. Three thousand, nine hundred and sixty-two persons have recovered from the virus.
According to the Health Ministry’s daily update dashboard, eight persons are currently in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Fifty-three persons are in institutional quarantine, 105 in institutional isolation, and 697 in home isolation. To date, 25,756 tests have been conducted locally.
Contact tracing in Bartica
Health officials are now conducting contact tracing in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) following a reported rise in COVID-19 cases in the mining town.
In early November, there were 39 reported cases in the region, with Bartica reporting 10 positive cases at the time.
On Tuesday, the region reported 49 active cases, of which 42 are from Bartica.
“We are taking all the necessary precautions in Bartica. We are doing contact tracing. We are monitoring these patients who have tested positive, and that’s being done by the Regional Health Task Force. Most of these persons are either going to be isolated at home, or they’re going to be in our isolation facilities, the two options that we offer to patients who have tested positive,” Minister Anthony said during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.
Of the remaining positive cases, two were recorded in Issano, one each in Byderabo, Eteringbang, Kaikan and Arau. The origin of the case in Arau is still being determined.

Monitoring at dormitory schools
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony in a Department of Public Information (DPI) report stated that monitoring was ongoing at dormitory schools countrywide as senior secondary and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students settled into the school term.
He said when the Education and Health Ministries took the decision to reopen schools, they decided to test everyone, anticipating that there would be some positive COVID-19 cases.
“[We] wanted to make sure that everybody who would be living in the dorms, would be free of COVID and because they were coming from different places, we weren’t sure of their status. So, the important thing was once they get into the dorms, test everyone …test the persons who would be working along with them, teachers included,” he said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.
All of the cases at the dormitories are asymptomatic.
“…we only knew that they were positive, because we actually did the PCR tests and so, we are monitoring. There are a few students whose parents have opted to take them back home, and we have allowed for that, because in our discussions with those parents, we have given them the option of going to an institutional isolation or they can go back home and, of course, observe the guidelines that we have given to them,” the Minister said.
He said the Ministries’ strategic plan to deal with these cases is being followed, with support in every region from Regional Health and Education Officers.
Dr Anthony also gave assurances that both Ministries were working together to ensure the safety of students and teachers at schools.