Young people being affected, more COVID-19 hospitalisations – Health Minister

Young people being affected, more by COVID-19 hospitalisations – Health Minister
…death toll climbs to 250; 81 new COVID-19 cases

Health authorities are concerned over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Guyana, many of which are young people as well as persons who are getting sicker and require hospitalisations.
“Over the last month or so, we’ve started seeing an uptick in cases… We have also seen younger people also being affected, and that is quiet worrying… And out of seeing more cases, we’ve started to see more hospitalisation,” Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.
According to the Health Minister, these increasing cases are more prevalent in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
He revealed that, as at Wednesday, there were approximately 70 persons hospitalised with the novel coronavirus at most regional healthcare facilities around the country. In fact, there are some 54 such persons at the Ocean View Hospital at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, and the remaining persons are at the Linden Hospital Complex, West Demerara Regional Hospital, and New Amsterdam Hospital.
“So, at our regional hospitals, we now have more patients coming into them because they require assistance in breathing. So, we’re seeing more cases coming to us. Out of those that have been hospitalised, a percentage of them are much sicker, so they’ll have to get ICU care,” Anthony explained.
However, the Health Minister was unable to say whether there is a new variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country that is resulting in these people becoming sicker and more younger people becoming infected with the virus.
“We still don’t know what variants we have in Guyana, and we can only know that if it’s confirmed by genetic sequencing… It’s hard to determine which one we have, or if we have any, because we don’t have sequencing, and you would only know if you have sequencing.
“But what we can say, based on what we’re seeing clinically, (is that) we’re seeing more hospitalisation; and when people come into the hospital, a percentage of those are getting sicker, so we’re having a lot of cases in the ICU. Therefore, we know that more people are being affected by this in a very adverse way,” Dr Anthony posited.
Previously, Guyana had sent 10 samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and, after completing the gene sequencing in February this year, the results showed that were no traces of new variants of COVID-19.
However, since then, no other testing was done, but Minister Anthony says the authorities are hoping to send another set of samples for genetic sequencing.
“We’re trying to work out arrangements where we can do the testing; but, so far, we haven’t been able to get additional testing done. We’re hoping that we can do some more (testing) with CARPHA, but those arrangements, we’ll have to put them in place,” he stated.
Only last week, two young persons died after becoming infected with the virus. They are a 28-year-old man from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and a 26-year-old man from Region Three. Authorities have not disclosed whether these young individuals had any underlying conditions that could have resulted in their demise.

Death toll, new cases
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that another person who tested positive for COVID-19 died, taking the country’s death toll now to 250.
The latest fatality is a 57-year-old female from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), who died on Tuesday while receiving care at a medical facility. For the month so far, some 17 persons have died from the novel coronavirus.
Additionally, 81 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Wednesday. This now takes the number of confirmed cases in Guyana to 10,718, of which 5456 are males and 5262 are females.
Active cases in the country have been reduced to 995. This includes nine patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit and the remaining 986 persons in isolation, that is, 70 in institutional isolation and the other 916 in home isolation.
There are also nine other persons in institutional quarantine.
To date, some 9,473 persons have recovered from the life-threatening disease – a whopping 119 more recoveries than the figure reported the previous day.
Guyana has thus far tested some 94,527 persons for the novel coronavirus.
Of the 81 new cases detected on Wednesday, seven were from Region Three; a whopping 40 cases in the Demerara-Mahaica region; one in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), 20 in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 13 cases in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region.
The figures in the other five regions remained the same.
With more people being infected with the novel coronavirus and some getting sicker, the Health Minister is once again imploring persons to adhere to the protocols and guidelines in place to prevent the spread of the life-threatening disease.
“The [National COVID-19] Task Force cannot be everywhere. We have limited resources, and while we want to use these measures as a deterrent, people really have to start becoming more responsible, because everybody is involved. If you’re not following these rules, you’re endangering people.
“At this time in the midst of a pandemic, why is it that people want to go out and have these parties? It’s not normal times, and therefore people really got to start taking these measures seriously,” he posited.
As it is, there is a curfew in place from 22:30h (10:30 pm) to 04:00h (4am), but there have been mounting calls for a stricter curfew to be imposed. According to Dr Anthony, this is always under consideration by the COVID-19 Task Force.
“We haven’t changed anything as yet. As cases continue to rise, we’ll have to re-evaluate the situation and we’ll see what the appropriate measures are gonna be, but as of now, those hours remain. One thing people has to understand is not because the [curfew] says 10:30 that means you have to be on the road till 10:30. If you have no business on the road, then go home early,” he stressed. (G8)