Guyana records 2 more COVID-19 fatalities, death toll now at 179

– 66 new cases recorded within 24h

Guyana’s COVID-19 death toll has now climbed to 179, after two males died from the virus while receiving medical care on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Health Ministry confirmed that a 54-year-old male from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) died after he tested positive for the coronavirus. This was followed by another death on Thursday, this time, that of a 73-year-old male from Region One (Barima-Waini).
This is the third reported death for February. The last was reported on Monday after a 58-year-old female from Demerara-Mahaica died while seeking treatment.
New statistics issued by the Health Ministry revealed that a total of 66 new cases were reported within a 24-hour period, moving the confirmed cases thus far to 7780.
The Ministry stated that five persons remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with another 62 in institutional isolation, 710 in home isolation and 15 in institutional quarantine.
From the total number of cases, 4021 are males and 3759 are females. Out of the 7780 cases recorded since March 2020, 6826 have recovered. Health officials have tested 51,277 persons since the virus was first detected locally.
Of the 66 new cases, one was reported in Region One; four in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); 32 in Demerara-Mahaica; four in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); five in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); eight in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and 12 in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
The cases in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) stand at 228, 238, and 410 respectively.

Improved response
Meanwhile, speaking on Guyana’s response to the pandemic on Thursday, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony told the National Assembly that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C); Government has improved the situation tremendously from what was inherited from the former Administration.
On the aspect of protecting health-care workers, he voiced, “The plan has various sections including the provision of personal protection equipment for the health-care workers and we have been sourcing things like masks, goggles, gowns, hair cover, foot cover and all that is needed for these frontline health workers to protect themselves while delivering care. That situation has increased dramatically from what we have inherited.”
In relation to testing, the Minister pointed out that they were able to raise the daily capacity from 21 to 2000 at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory. In the regions, point-of-care facilities were established for antigen testing, broadening the ways in which a positive detection is made.
He contended, “When we came into testing, we were only doing about 21 tests per day and our range of test was very limited. So now, at the National Public Health Reference Lab, we are able to do about 1500 to 2000 PCR tests per day. That has increased our capacity tremendously. On an average day, we’re doing close to 450 PCR tests. The Private Sector has come on board and Eureka Medical Laboratories have also been doing PCR testing.”
Presently, there is enough bed capacity for persons who require normal hospitalisation or intensive care. Government has secured a field hospital from the Qatari Government – additional resources which will be made available soon. Authorities are determining where the facility should be established.
Dr Anthony also spoke on contact tracing as he expounded. “We have our central team at the surveillance department who is responsible for all contact tracing and in every region of Guyana, the regional task force comprising of the RHO and his team are required to do contact tracing. So, we have a comprehensive network of persons who are doing contact tracing.”
Efforts have been made to secure the border regions with Brazil from any infiltration, after variants of the COVID-19 virus were detected. Samples will be sent monthly to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for genetic sequencing. Along with this, there are internal measures to protect the population at workplaces, so as to continue economic activities.
The Minister told the House of the Government’s initiatives to provide small businesses with incentives, as well as the $25,000 cash grant for each household to cushion their economic woes.