Guyana sends COVID-19 samples to CARPHA for analysis over new variant concerns

…76 new cases recorded

Reports of the new COVID-19 variant in Jamaica and Trinidad has led Guyana to send samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for analysis. According to Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony on Friday, they are awaiting those results.
It was highlighted that although this variant has higher transmissibility, it is spread the same way – via droplets. As such, wearing a mask correctly can protect against infection.
“These things take some time to do and interpret so we await the results from that…The transmission is the same, it’s through droplets or aerosols and therefore if you wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth, then you will prevent that transmission…In terms of speed of transmission, the new variant in some cases have been shown to transmit faster and that’s what we have to look out for,” Dr Anthony indicated.
Scientifically, the vaccines developed for COVID-19 have proven effective against other strains. After tests were conducted, medical professionals were able to determine conclusively that the shots work.
The Minister added, “What we know is that the virus is going to continue to evolve, probably about one mutation every two weeks and most of these mutations are of no significance. Some of them, however, are going to change how the virus transmits, how it becomes severe or in some cases, it will become weaker.”

New cases
With 76 new cases of the novel coronavirus being recorded on Friday, the country’s total confirmed positives are now at 7143. Thus far, 3656 males and 3487 females have contracted the virus.
The Health Ministry’s dashboard showed deaths remaining at 170.
There are seven patients in the Intensive Care Unit, 34 persons are in institutional isolation, 604 are in home isolation and 11 in institutional quarantine. A total of 6328 persons have recovered – 51 of which were reported in one day. In total, 45,865 individuals have been tested.
A breakdown showed that four cases were detected in Region One (Barima-Waini), four in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 56 in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), one in Region Five (Demerara-Mahaica), six in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), one in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), one in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and two in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
The number of cases in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and seven Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) remain at 219 and 573 respectively.
Spikes have been recorded in Moraikobai, New Amsterdam, Waramadong and St Cuthbert’s Mission. Health teams have since been sent to these locations to monitor the detection of active cases and recovering patients. The Health Minister acknowledged that officials and leaders in villages can play an important role in reinforcing the safety measures to enhance compliance.
“The persons who are in positions of leadership and positions of influence, like community leaders, religious leaders can really help us by helping to spread the education particular to COVID, model the best practices of COVID…and help us to get that message across because the Ministry of Health alone or the Task Force cannot do all of the education work that is necessary.”
He said the Ministry is equipped to provide any information necessary on the virus so that it can be passed on through the village leaders. The onus is on community leaders to assist. (G12)