…2 Delta variant cases detected in T&T; passengers transited in Guyana
The COVID-19 death toll in Guyana has increased as three more persons who tested positive for the novel coronavirus died.
According to the Health Ministry, these latest fatalities are a 74-year-old from Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice), who died on Monday, and two females – an 83-year-old who also died on Monday, and an 82-year-old who died on Tuesday – both from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
These patients were admitted with COVID-19 like symptoms but died while receiving care at medical institutions, the Ministry explained. Samples were taken at the time of admission, which subsequently returned positive tests.
With these fatalities, the total number of deaths from the pandemic in the country has gone up to 567. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death toll for the month of August is now 18.
Also on Wednesday, it was reported that 86 new COVID-19 infections were detected in Guyana, taking the total number of confirmed cases here to 23,156.
However, only 790 of these are currently active cases including 14 patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the other 776 persons in isolation, that is, 86 in institutional isolation and the remaining 690 in home isolation.
There are also an additional seven persons in institutional quarantine, according to the Health Ministry’s updated COVID-19 dashboard.
Some 21,799 persons have recovered from the life-threatening disease to date – 71 more recoveries than the figure reported the previous day.
Moreover, since the outbreak of the pandemic here last year, approximately 239,162 persons have been tested for the novel coronavirus of which 11,274 males and 11,882 females were positive cases.
Of the 86 new cases recorded on Wednesday, three were from Region One (Barima-Waini); two cases from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); 16 from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); a whopping 49 cases from the Demerara-Mahaica region; one from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); another three cases from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); another one from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); five from Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and one more case from Region 10.
There were no new cases recorded in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) in the last 24 hours, according to Wednesday’s COVID-19 dashboard.
In order to curb the rising number of cases in the country, the Guyana Government launched its COVID-19 vaccination exercise back in February and is aggressively rolling it out in the various regions in order to achieve herd immunity.
Recent figures show that some 275,451 persons have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 56.6 per cent of the adult population. Meanwhile, another 145,566 persons are now fully vaccinated with both doses, which is 29.9 per cent of persons 18 years and older.
In order to encourage more persons to get immunised and to protect the vaccinated population, Government has implemented a range of new measures. These include vaccination requirements for persons travelling to Guyana from other countries.
Delta variant in T&T
Only Wednesday, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago announced the discovery of two cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which has been sweeping across the world due to it being easily transmittable.
The two cases were returning cases. One patient travelling from the United States to the Caribbean Island and the other persons returning from Mexico having transited in Panama and Guyana.
The T&T Health Ministry said both persons presented negative PCR tests taken 72 hours prior to their arrival and were placed in State-supervised quarantine, which is mandated for arriving unvaccinated persons, during which they were subsequently tested positive.
Samples were taken for gene sequencing at the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Medical Sciences laboratory, where the Delta variant was detected.
Last month, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said that the shift from the older age groups to now the younger population being hospitalised and dying after being infected with COVID-19 suggests the presence of more deadly variants in the country.
“From a clinical perspective, we suspect that this is what is happening,” he stated.
The Health Minister went on to note that while gene sequencing would have to be conducted to definitively confirm this, air travel between Guyana and other parts of the world has exposed the country to these newer and deadlier variants.
“While Delta (variant) was first discovered in India, it is now the dominant variant in the US and we have travel back and forth from the US on a daily basis. So, one can assume that we have different types of variants circulating in Guyana and would’ve contributed to the clinical picture that we’re seeing here. So not only do we have more deaths, we’re seeing more people being hospitalised during this period,” he had posited.
However, the Health Minister had stated that conducting more gene sequencing, which was being done overseas, is not a priority at this time since the results would not change the response to or the treatment of the virus in Guyana, adding too that persons will still also have to take the same precautionary measures.
To this end, the Minister reminded that none of the persons who died from COVID-19 so far were fully vaccinated against the virus. As such, he reiterated calls for persons to get immunised.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in some 142 countries. (G8)