…Region Nine reports 1st case
…4 of 5 new cases residents of Palms
Two months after Guyana recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the number of cases has grown to 109, after five new persons tested positive.
Caretaker Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence disclosed during Monday’s COVID-19 update that the cases increased by 12 within three days.
In one day, the Ministry conducted 16 tests. This contributed to a total figure of 930 tests thus far, of which 821 returned negative. Deaths from COVID-19 remained at 10, with 36 persons recovering and 63 in institutional isolation. This time around, one person was intubated.
In April, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) had predicted that Guyana was likely to have 20,000 cases if measures were not implemented against the pandemic. As a result, stay at home advisories, a national curfew among other mechanisms were introduced to flatten the curve.
However, Lawrence once again called on the public to practice social distancing, and abide by the curfew. She also requested persons to report any suspected case that they may come across.
“We have constantly been pleading with you to come forward if you have been in contact with a positive case. We have also listed the areas where confirmed cases have been identified but still, there is a reluctance for you to disclose your contacts. We must seriously think about flattening the curve and containing the spread of the virus so that we all can return to normalcy. Therefore, we ask you to put aside fear and stigma and come forward and provide the information.”
The World Health Organisation has reported that there are 3,917,366 confirmed cases worldwide with 274,361 deaths. In the Americas, the number of confirmed cases has increased by 18,536 with the number of deaths increasing by 6830.
Guyana’s southwestern neighbour, Brazil saw an increase in positive cases by 10,222 within one day as the deaths also rose by 751. Alarmingly, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) which shares the border with Brazil reported its first case.
“Guyanese, a disaster is at our very back door and unless we exercise caution and adhere to the control measures, the model figures of 1400 and 20,000 can become a reality,” the caretaker Public Health Minister cautioned.
Palms new cases
Meanwhile, four new persons have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus at the Palms Geriatric Home following the death of Bhaneshwar Ramdial, who was a resident at the facility.
The elderly man was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) on May 1 after he was suspected of having the virus. It was reported that he presented all of the symptoms and because of his age and other factors, those symptoms became severe. But he died a few hours after he was admitted as a patient in the hospital. A test conducted posthumously revealed that the elderly Ramdial was positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the Public Health Ministry did not make the death public until May 5 – four days after.
The man’s death has raised many questions, with nurses staging a protest in front of the home on Friday last calling on the Public Health Ministry to provide protective gear as they are fearful of contracting the disease.
It is still unclear as to how he might have contracted the disease, but there are 102 nurses employed at the home with three on-call doctors that care for 198 patients.
Last week, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud noted that most of the persons tested positive for COVID-19, to date, are males with a ratio of 49:44 and this statement is no different from the Palms, as out of the four persons, three are male and one female.
Director of Social Services at the Ministry of Social Protection, Wentworth Tanner stated that following the death of the 64-year-old man, the Health Emergency Operating Centre (HEOC) commenced contract tracing where 12 individuals were placed on quarantine. In light of this, the Public Health Ministry has ramped up testing within the facility.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that older persons and those with underlying medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop the serious forms of the deadly virus.
Ten persons have died as a result of COVID-19. They were identified as 52-year-old Ratna Baboolall; 38-year-old Jermaine Ifill; 78-year-old Osa Collins; 59-year-old Shadrach Stoll; 38-year-old Deryck Jaisingh; 45-year-old Lennox Williams; 49-year-old visually-impaired Sydney Trellis; 77-year-old Colonel John Percy Leon Lewis, 67-year-old Samuel Morris, and Bhaneshwar Ramdial.