Region 1 will need more COVID-19 facilities – Regional VC

Region One (Barima-Waini) has seen an alarming trend of positive cases, with reports of nine, and one death in the Moruca sub-district, creating the need for quarantining facilities.

Region One Vice Chair Sarah Brown

In fact, the region has been identified by the Public Health Ministry for its growing trend in positive cases.
As positive patients accumulate at the present facilities, Regional Vice Chairman, Sarah Brown told Guyana Times that authorities will have to identify additional sites if the numbers escalate further.
Brown is currently based in the sub-region while Regional Chair, Brentnol Ashley is stationed in Mabaruma. She noted that Santa Rosa remains the most populated area in the zone, with approximately 10,000 residents, citing a need for concern.
There are currently a few facilities available that can house a limited number of patients. After the first case was detected, efforts were then made by the responsible officials to put systems in place for quarantining and treatment of coronavirus patients.
“For Santa Rosa, having the most population, when the first case happened, they weren’t prepared at that time. After they got more cases, they started to put systems in place. We have nine cases so far with one death…The facilities they’re using is the Aqua Guesthouse and there’s only about eight rooms there. Then there is also the quarantine facility that they would have built at the airstrip, there’s another four there. God forbid if we should exceed more, I don’t know what other plans we have,” the Vice Chairwoman explained.
Presently, a Santa Rosa Task Force was established to make decisions on how the communities should address these issues. Brown said she was not invited to these discussions but has been receiving information through stakeholders and social media.
“So far, I would’ve learnt from social media and other persons that there is a Task Force. However, nobody invited me to any meeting for the Task Force. I can’t say exactly what plans they have. Over here, we would have had nine cases so far in Santa Rosa Village and I can’t say exactly what plans the Village Council has.”
Santa Rosa houses the main hospital – the Kumaka District Hospital, but is supported by other primary healthcare centres. Brown was unable to say if all of them are equipped to handle COVID-19-related cases.
“The others are just health centres. Only cases would have to be referred here first. In Cubano, there is also a health centre there but I don’t know if they are equipped.”’
On May 24, former teacher, Vincent Torres was the first fatality in the region. He was admitted to the Kumaka District Hospital after experiencing breathing complications and other symptoms. A COVID-19 test was conducted on the man, which revealed that he was positive.
However, the elderly man later succumbed and medical personnel who tended to him were placed in isolation.
Last week, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud shared that Regions One and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) are beginning to witness an increased trend of positive cases with six and 10 per cent of positively confirmed cases respectively.
One day after Moruca, Region One, had its first case, a second person tested positive. By the eight day, there were nine cases and one death. In Region Seven, six more cases were reported within the first week, three more after six days, and 12 days after, another five cases.
He urged, “We know that in Region One, you young men have to go into the mines in order to provide for yourselves and families; this doesn’t mean that you do this to the detriment of those around you; if you practice social distancing, wear a mask and you participate in sanitising and washing your hands as often as you should then it is guaranteed that the possibility of transmission will drop significantly.”
In the breakdown by age group and gender, the younger males in the 25-29 age group are predominantly affected in Region One.