COVID-19 PC students remain asymptomatic – Health Minister
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony on Tuesday revealed that the eight students from President’s College who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to school, remain asymptomatic.
During the COVID-19 update, the Minister said over 90 students were tested on Monday, with the remainder being tested on Tuesday morning. In total, 159 students would have returned for classroom learning.
“So far, none of them have presented any signs or symptoms. It’s just that when you do the PCR test, we’ve been able to detect the asymptomatic patients…We’re trying to test all of the students who will be in the dorms,” the Minister shared.
Those who tested positive were isolated and will be observed for 10 days. If they remain asymptomatic, Dr Anthony said they will rejoin students in the dormitory.
He said the idea is to test everybody and if any positives are detected, they will be isolated immediately to avoid “comingling”. Other than this, there was a smooth turnout on the first day of school. As of Tuesday, students were still returning to President’s College.
“The education system was well prepared so they had the appropriate distancing in the classroom and while it would take a little bit of adjusting for everybody, I think they’ve done very well for the first day.”
It is reported that eight students who returned to their dorms at President’s College at Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara, tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All were from Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and they were tested for the virus upon their arrival at the school.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand had provided an update on Monday, where she explained that once students are found to be positive for COVID-19, the Health Ministry will step in. She explained that like in any normal case, students will be given the option to isolate at home or to go into institutional care. The Minister assured that all systems were put in place to ensure students are safe upon their return to classroom activity.
Upon being asked why the tests were not done on students from outlying regions prior to them coming into dorm schools in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), she said, “Medical personnel want to know where exactly the students are after they are tested so to prevent any kind of contamination after a test. So, you do not want to test someone and not be sure of where they are exactly because we have no facilities to keep them. Then have them go back home where they can be reinfected. You get a negative test and then the student comes in the school and we didn’t know they were infected between the time they were tested and the time they went home.”
Meanwhile, Education advisor at the Education Ministry, Olato Sam had noted that it is critical that students return to school. He added, “The world is not waiting for anyone. And we have recognised that. If you look at universities abroad, schools in Jamaica, Barbados, they have gone ahead with the phased reopening.”
He noted, too, that the approach adopted by Guyana’s Education Ministry has not been “plucked out of the air”.