A COVID-19 screening and testing unit has been established at Buck Hall in the Essequibo Islands.
Buck Hall is the main access point to several mining areas including Aranka in Region Seven (Cuyuni Mazaruni) which has reported a large number of COVID-19 cases within the last few weeks.
The unit is situated at the entrance of Buck Hall and will allow for mandatory screening of persons leaving or entering the area.
Anyone presenting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately isolated before being transferred to an official quarantine facility until their COVID-19 status is verified.
Regional Health Officer of Region Three, Dr. Cerdel McWatt explained the decision to establish the COVID-19 checkpoint came after assessments were conducted which prompted the establishment of several screening units in the region at Vreed-En-Hoop, Parika and other entry points.
Concerning Buck Hall specifically, he said, “this area has been traversed by many miners, a total of about 60 persons traverse here daily, that is why it is an area of interest; therefore, we want to have the checkpoint set up and a testing facility. Most of these persons will access the interior locations and from there they can either go to Region two, that’s Supenaam or to Parika hence this activity.”
According to Senior Health Worker of the Karia Karia Heath Centre, Everly Sampson, Buck Hall does not have a large stable population of residents – approximately 35 residents – but almost daily, miners and other workers from the ‘backdam’ traverse this landing.
Buck Hall has recorded one COVID-19 case and since then, residents of Karia Karia have been on high alert while those in the transit community are continually being urged to do all that is necessary to protect themselves from exposure.
“Persons from Karia Karia used to work at Buck Hall but because of the COVID, most persons refrain from work. So, hardly anyone comes to Karia Karia, the only time there is movement is when myself and one other conduct house-to-house visits encouraging people to continue with social distancing, using the mask and the sanitiser,” Sampson said.
She commended the establishment of the unit, describing it as a much-needed and important initiative towards containing the spread of COVID-19.
“I think it’s a good initiative because you would find a lot of persons especially from Region One travelling through here, so its good that they can be screened before entering the ‘back dam’ or even before entering Buck Hall and occasionally those persons from Karia Karia who visit Buck Hall. So, this is very good,” she noted.
Six volunteers were trained to lend support to the screening unit.
The screening unit which has been set up by a volunteer group from the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) is housed in one of the prefabricated houses donated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). [Extracted and Modified from DPI]