Samples from recent COVID-19 deaths to be sent for sequencing – Health Minister

…medical personnel back on high alert after spikes

The Health Ministry has made arrangements for samples from the three recent COVID-19 deaths to be sent overseas for analysis, in order to determine which strain of the virus is circulating locally.
In October, zero coronavirus deaths were reported, with 87 overall cases. However, three deaths and 107 positives have already surfaced for November.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony informed on Thursday that medical professionals have been put on alert amid the growing trend of cases and hospitalisations.
“We have put all our doctors, medical personnel again on alert. The system at the Ocean View Hospital is fully deployed, so really sick patients would go there. All the units in the country and regional hospitals are available if people get really sick,” Dr Anthony notified.
In reporting that the samples from the deaths would be sent for sequencing, the Health Minister explained that this would provide clarity on what variants were causing deaths. He added that sequencing would be carried out routinely to understand the changing dynamics of the disease.
“The three deaths that we’ve had over the last week, we have made arrangements to send those samples to be sequenced. That’s because we want to understand which variant is circulating here and whether it is the same types of variants that are causing death among our patients. This is something we would do routinely to get an idea of what is circulating and what we need to look out for,” he explained.
To date, 76,131 persons have received their first booster dose, but only 4276 have returned for their second booster. Concerned about this low uptake, the Health Minister reminded that vulnerable groups are older persons, individuals with comorbid conditions or underlying illnesses and those who are immune-compromised.
He stated, “Not a lot of people in Guyana has been coming to get their boosters and that has been a problem for us…We are giving booster doses and we really encourage people to come and get them. We just want people to come and make sure that they’re immunised, moreso that if we’re seeing cases going up, it is important that you stay protected.”

Active COVID-19 cases are at 102 with 10 persons hospitalised at the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Ocean View. This includes four persons in the Intensive Care Unit.
On Thursday, the updated COVID dashboard reflected two new cases. Confirmed cases are pegged at 71,560 with 1284 total deaths to date.
There are six persons in institutional isolation, 92 in home isolation and one in institutional quarantine. Thus far, 705,349 test samples have been analysed and 70,174 recoveries achieved.
In the Region of the Americas, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to 179 million while the death toll has gone up to 2.8 million.
Globally, there are 627 million confirmed cases with 6.5 million deaths.
If anyone is displaying any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, or need any additional information, they are asked to contact the COVID-19 Hotline on 231-1166, 226-7480 or 624-6674 immediately or visit (G12)