Region 4 accounts for 86% of COVID-19 cases
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Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence

– confirmed cases now at 48, 44 persons infected through community spread

AS cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continue to increase, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) has been identified as the “epicentre” for this disease, accounting for 84 per cent of the cases.

This was according to Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, during a virtual update on the COVID-19 pandemic, on Tuesday.

According to Minister Lawrence, the number of confirmed cases have moved from 47 to 48, with Region 4 accounting for most of those cases, followed by Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), which account for five per cent each, and Regions One (Barima-Waini) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) which have two per cent each.

The minister said 60 per cent of the persons, who tested positive for the disease, are males and 40 per cent are females.

“Of the 48 positive COVID-19 cases, four are known to have travelled from another country and the other 44 persons contracted the Coronavirus Disease in Guyana,” said Minister Lawrence.

So far, 224 persons have been tested for the COVID-19 disease, with 176 of those persons testing negative and eight of the positive cases recovering from the disease. Deaths caused by the disease remain at six.

As health authorities continue to monitor the situation, 34 persons have been placed in isolation while 21 persons are in quarantine. Five of the infected persons are being treated in the COVID-19 ICU.

“Let me take this opportunity to remind you that there are neither vaccines nor medications to address the coronavirus disease; the medical personnel will treat you according to the symptoms you present,” said Minister Lawrence.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an issue which should not be taken lightly, and to reinforce that point, the minister said authorities were recently forced to take action after four Venezuelan migrants disregarded the home quarantine guidelines and tried to flee to Mahdia and Lethem.

They were, however, intercepted and placed in institutional quarantine thanks to the teamwork of the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) and the Guyana Police Force, said Minister Lawrence.

“We applaud the team for their quick action to avert any possible spread to our citizens in those communities. I wish to reiterate that persons on home quarantine need to adhere to guidelines when asked, for their sake and others,” said the minister.

She reminded persons that it is their responsibility to comply with the regulations and guidelines provided by the public health ministry. She encouraged persons to stay home and only leave if it is “absolutely” necessary.

Globally, there are more than 1.8 million cases of COVID-19, with over 111,000 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 medication, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventative measures to contain the spread of the disease.

President David Granger, in an address to the nation on Saturday evening, said Guyana is in line to receive approximately 30,000 masks, a number of ventilators and other medical equipment from the People’s Republic of China as it ups its fight against COVID-19. Added to that, the country has turned to the Government of India for financial assistance.

According to President Granger, the fight requires unprecedented expenditure and outlay of resources to enable identification and testing, isolation, protection and treatment. These added resources will complement systems already in place to suppress the spread of the virus and provide appropriate medical attention.

As the country wages war against the deadly disease, the Head of State said the efforts of the country’s frontline workers, in particular, those within the medical field, should not go unnoticed.

“I ask you, however, to think tenderly of our public health professionals and service providers, that is to say, our doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all other supporting staff – medical and non-medical – who are providing the required care for those in distress.

Public health practitioners are on the frontline of protecting those stricken by the disease. They have been working tirelessly through this very difficult situation to provide quality healthcare to those who have been infected and afflicted. Everyone in the public health system has played a vital part in the fight against this disease,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus.

WHO said most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illnesses and recover without requiring special treatment. Older persons and those with underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop serious illness.

The WHO believes that the best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes and how it is spread.

“Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practise respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow),” the WHO has advised.

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