60 active cases of COVID-19 in Guyana

Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton

…out of 127 confirmed cases 57 recovered thus far

MORE Guyanese continue to win the battle against the deadly Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), with the latest statistics showing that ten more persons have recovered and were medically cleared by local health authorities.

The latest recoveries are a good sign for Guyana, especially since the number of cases have been increasing consistently over the past few months. Of the 127 cases recorded so far, 57 have recovered; ten persons have died; three persons are battling for their lives in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU); and there are 60 active cases in institutional quarantine.

Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton, in a virtual COVID-19 update, said 1,329 persons have been tested so far, with 1,202 of those persons being negative.

Dr. Dennis Bassier (DPI Photo)

While a large number of persons tested negative for the disease, there continues to be concern over the amount of positive cases, especially regarding the fact that over 80 per cent of those cases are men. In giving a breakdown of the cases, Dr. Hamilton said, 73 persons are men and 54 are women. Also, of the ten persons who have died, eight are men.

Men’s Health Coordinator, Dr. Dennis Bassier, in giving his take on the situation said: “It is the general understanding that men have poor health-seeking behavior; this is further emphasized by the current situation…But wait, the plot thickens… lots of males that have been positively diagnosed, are not single. As a result of this, their partners and children have to be tested due to them being exposed.”

Reducing the transmission of the disease is not “rocket science,” and, according to Dr. Bassier, there is no shame in wearing a face-mask, practising social distancing or even sanitising your hands.

He said there will be no loss of pride, but there could be loss of health and/or life for persons and their loved ones, if they fail to adhere to control measures.

Dr. Bassier said the Men’s Health Unit of the Ministry of Public Health has not been idle during this time. Instead, the unit has been monitoring the situation and has been noticing that persons continue to gather at bars and shops during the day, in order to compensate for what would be missed after curfew hours.

“Through the hotline of the ‘Health Emergency Operations Centre’, it has emerged that men think COVID-19 is not in their area or because our number of positive cases and deaths is low, that it is under control,” said the doctor.
In light of this occurrence, he pleads with men to think about their families, communities and the entire population. Persons were encouraged to practise social distancing and other preventative measures.

“Because, if it is that you don’t like the way COVID-19 has the country right now, please know that you are prolonging this period every time you don’t practise the preventative measures, and the only one you have to blame is yourself,” Dr. Bassier warned.
Dr. Hamilton also pleaded with persons to stop behaving recklessly and instead follow the control measures and guidelines in place, in order to not just safeguard their families, but also themselves and the entire population.

Health authorities continue to work towards strengthening the healthcare system to respond to COVID-19 on a long-term basis, and the potential and existing activities are part of the plan to have a comprehensive COVID-19 health network, whereby patients across the country’s 10 administrative regions will be able to access these services.
Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) remains the epicentre of the disease, and there are a number of communities outside of Georgetown which have recorded cases.

Among communities on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) where cases have been recorded are: Atlantic Gardens, Friendship, Golden Grove, Good Hope, Lusignan, Plaisance, and Strathspey. Among communities on the East Bank Demerara (EBD) where there were cases are: Diamond, Grove, Land of Canaan, Providence, and Timehri.

Residents of the Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), were, however, advised to be watchful and careful as Brazil has now become the country with the third-highest number confirmed coronavirus infections in the world, after registering a total of more than 250,000 cases. “You remain extremely vulnerable and therefore every resident must be prepared to be his brother’s keeper in order to ensure the safety of everyone,” said Dr. Hamilton.

She said the Ministry is also very concerned with the increased cases seen in Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Seven (Cuyuni- Mazaruni). As of Thursday, Region One had two confirmed cases in two of their sub districts. And, Region Seven has a total of seven cases.
Measures can be continuously implemented, but it is up to the individuals, that is the average Guyanese, to adhere to those measures and think seriously about flattening the curve (reducing the spread). The disease remains a serious issue, not just in Guyana, but globally.

And, according to global statistics, there are over 4.7 million cases of COVID-19, with over 318,000 deaths. And with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease. In the absence of approved medications, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventive measures to contain the spread of the disease.