Health Ministry preparing for Delta variant surge – Dr Anthony

…says unvaccinated persons putting themselves at risk

The Health Ministry is preparing for any surges that may arise from the circulation of the Delta variant, by putting systems and human resources in place at the designated COVID-19 facilities.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony indicated during Tuesday’s briefing that medical workers from the Cuban Medical Brigade will be utilised to boost Guyana’s capacity in the intensive care department. The new addition, he added, are skilled to monitor critical patients.
Speaking on the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, he explained, “We have expanded that unit to have now about 45 beds with ventilators and monitors and so forth. When you have a patient in the Intensive Care Unit, it’s quite an intensive process, meaning that the doctor-nurse ratio per patient is almost like a one-on-one ratio. So, you need a lot of people to be able to monitor these patients.”
He added, “We have been using local staff but in addition to the local staff, we thought it would be best if we can complement it with the new doctors that came in from Cuba…These (the intensivists) are doctors who will be working primarily in the Intensive Care Unit and they understand how to use things like ventilators and so forth. They would be ideal to work in this particular area.”
The Delta variant, first detected in India, has a higher transmissibility rate and has proven to be even deadlier than other strains. As such, the Minister cautioned that unvaccinated persons would be at a higher risk of succumbing if they were to contract this variant.
“When the Delta variant gets here, unvaccinated people are going to have a much difficult time and we have the vaccines available and we really need people to understand that it’s necessary to get their vaccines and come out and get their vaccines. Without that, you’re at risk of getting sick and seriously ill. If you get seriously ill, you will be hospitalised and you also stand the risk of dying from COVID. This can be avoided if you take the vaccine, get both doses of it and make sure you’re protected.”
With continuous campaigning and sensitisation methods to elevate vaccination numbers, Regions Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) are still lagging behind.
Dr Anthony divulged, “Unfortunately, that message is still not getting through to some regions so I’m still saying in Region 10, the uptake is the lowest across the country and in Region Eight, it is also quite low. I really urge the leadership in these regions to encourage the citizens within their communities to get out and get the vaccine…While we are preparing for such a surge, we would be happy if such a surge does not occur and the only way to prevent that from now occurring is that we have to get more people vaccinated.”
Vaccination statistics show that 290,779 first doses have been administered across the country, representing 59.7 per cent of the adult population. Second doses are at 146,691 persons or 30.7 per cent.
Regional first doses show 72.9 per cent for Region One (Barima-Waini), 51.6 in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 57.2 per cent in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), 63.7 per cent in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), 59.5 per cent in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 65.2 per cent in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), 61.5 per cent in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), 39.7 per cent in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), 69.1 per cent in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and 21 per cent in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Meanwhile, the uptake of vaccines has been progressing, with Monday recording one of the highest turnouts at the various sites.
“We have been seeing a steady set of people coming to get vaccines. Just yesterday, we recorded one of the highest numbers of persons coming to ger vaccines. We had 5505 persons who received vaccines yesterday…Just looking at these first dose numbers, we still have a long way to go because on average, it’s 59.7 per cent for first dose, with Region 10 having the lowest amount of persons receiving their first dose vaccine. That’s quite unfortunate that we’re still having a slow uptake.” (G12)