Guyana records another COVID-19 death

…22 new cases

Guyana has recorded another COVID-19-related death, bringing the country’s death toll to 199.
The latest fatality is a 52-year-old female from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) who died on March 2.
In its daily update, the Ministry noted that 22 new cases were confirmed from 603 tests, taking Guyana’s confirmed cases to 8648. However, of this number, 8043 persons have fully recovered.
Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) recorded 15 new cases, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) five and Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) two.
Figures from the updated dashboard show that six persons remain in the Intensive Care Unit; 36 in institutional isolation, 364 in home isolation and 14 in institutional quarantine.
To date, health officials have tested 67,025 persons.

Private facilities
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday said that private facilities could apply to the Ministry for certification to conduct the antigen test for COVID-19.
An assessment would be done to determine applicants’ capacity.
“That process of accessing and allowing additional sites to be able to do antigen testing is continuing, and if there’s any Private Sector entity that would like to do the antigen testing, what you need to do is to apply to the Ministry of Health and we would then send a team to do the assessment to see if we should register you as a provider. So, in that way, we are increasing the capacity to be able to do testing using this antigen method,” the Minister said.
Already, the Ministry has certified the Dr Balwant Singh Hospital, Woodlands Hospital, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Davis Memorial Hospital and Anamayah Memorial Hospital to conduct antigen tests. Minister Anthony said a few more facilities were currently under consideration.
He also said increasing the Government’s testing capacity countrywide has been a major focus of the Ministry, starting with the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
“We have done that in several ways, 1) at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory, we have been increasing our capacity by buying more equipment and by training more people to handle the equipment and automating the process. So, by doing that, something that would have probably taken eight hours to do, which is what happened when we came in, we have automated and reduced processing time to maybe an hour or two.”
Several systems at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory have been automated, the Minister disclosed. Additionally, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is also available outside of Georgetown.
“We have equipment at Lethem Hospital where if you have the signs and symptoms or you want to be tested, we can test you there and within 60 minutes or so, you can get back the result to determine whether you are positive or not.”
Similar facilities have been set up at Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) and in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).