Guyana records 36 new COVID-19 cases from 647 tests

…cinemas need to install special filter before reopening – Minister

The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported that Guyana has recorded 36 new novel coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours from some 647 tests conducted.
According to the Ministry’s updated COVID-19 dashboard, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country is now 7714 – 3992 males and 3722 females.
However, only 775 of these are active cases. These comprise five patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 770 in isolation – 58 in institutional isolation and the other 712 in home isolation.
Additionally, there are 12 persons in institutional quarantine.
The country’s death toll remains at 177 with the last COVID-19 fatality recorded on Sunday last when a 58-year-old female from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) died while receiving care at a medical facility.
To date, some 6762 persons have recovered from the life-threatening virus, with 81 more recoveries reported Wednesday.
Guyana has conducted 51,019 novel coronavirus tests thus far.

New cases
Of the 36 new cases recorded on Wednesday, one was detected in Region One (Barima-Waini); four in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); 22 cases in Demerara-Mahaica; two in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); one in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), and six cases in Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice).
The figures in the other four regions – Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Essequibo- Upper Takutu) – remained the same.
During the COVID-19 update on Wednesday, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony pointed to a recent Caribbean survey in which it showed a comparison of persons’ finances in Guyana at the beginning of the pandemic in the Region as opposed to late last year when it had severely diminished.
“You could see now conditions have worsened for people because they didn’t had money, they didn’t have jobs – a lot of people were laid off – and these are the kinds of hidden impact that would have affected persons in Guyana. So, we need to have a balance and that’s why we’ve been working to open work-spaces safely,” he posited.

In fact, only last week, health authorities granted approval for restaurants to reopen for indoor dining at 40 per cent capacity. However, calls are now being made for cinemas to also be reopened, but according to the Health Minister, this could not be done without certain conditions being met.
He explained that enclosed indoor areas such as cinemas were public health hazards during the pandemic.
“With cinemas, we have had specific conversations with the cinema owners. We had teams that went in to access the cinemas and in the door space that they have, and that team that went in made recommendations to the cinema owners for them to install HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. This means that if somebody comes to the cinema and they have been infected and they’re asymptomatic, and they cough, then these HEPA filters will be able to clear out the viral particles,” he noted.
But according to Dr Anthony, since those recommendations were made, he was not aware that any of the cinemas have, in fact, installed these filters.
“Therefore, we’ll have to get another engagement with them to see whether or not they would be installing these [filters],” he said.
Moreover, the Health Minister went on to confirm that if they were moving towards reopening of cinemas, then it would have to be conditional.
“The preference would be not to have people eat or drink, because eating or drinking would require you taking off your mask and as we known, transmission would occur once people’s noses and mouths are exposed and they are in close proximity or in an enclosed space,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Minister Anthony further explained that the reopening of restaurants for limited indoor dining was not done without research and assessments. He said the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) has been going around to various restaurants, making sure they are compliant with the COVID-19 Emergency Measures, assessing their capacity at 40 per cent and outlining the guidelines for seating.
In fact, some of the guidelines certified by the GTA include adequate spacing between tables and limited seats at each table.
The Health Minister noted that those details were worked out and random checks by persons from the task force would be done to ensure that these businesses comply with the measures that are being put in place. If this is not done, the Minister said, the task force could withdraw the entity’s licence to operate. (G8)