11 new cases of COVID-19
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Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud

…active cases jump to 74
-CMO urges public to utilise mobile testing units

GUYANA continues to record a consistent increase in the number of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, with the latest statistics showing that the country recorded 11 new cases within the past 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases to 74.

Health authorities recorded this sizeable increase after testing 59 persons within the past 24 hours. To date, some 1,559 persons have been tested for COVID-19, with 1,409 of those persons testing negative and 150 testing positive.

Of the total number of infections recorded to date, some 67 persons have recovered; eleven persons have lost their lives; 72 persons are in institutional isolation and two persons are being treated in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The consistent increase has prompted local health authorities to increase testing, and as part of efforts to do so, mobile testing units were deployed and permanent facilities were established in various administrative regions.

“As you know, in order to effectively uncover those who would have come into contact with a confirmed case, the Ministry of Public Health has initiated two permanent sites in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); on site in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); and one in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice), at the Wismar Hospital,” said Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, during a virtual COVID-19 update, on Thursday.
Dr. Persaud encouraged persons to utilise the services offered by those facilities, and to not let it go to waste.

“Another aspect that I wish to touch on is our sample collection. I understand that this process is somewhat uncomfortable, however we beg you to cooperate despite the discomfort.

“You will appreciate that if the process is not performed accurately, and the sample is insufficient, we can have the wrong results. So, we ask all of you to give the testing team your full cooperation,” said the CMO.

Health authorities continue to work towards strengthening the healthcare system to respond to COVID-19 on a long-term basis. 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.

Health authorities are also placing emphasis on hinterland regions, especially now that three of the four hinterland regions have recorded cases of COVID-19. The need for surveillance in those regions is also important because Guyana’s South American neighbour, Brazil, is now the epicentre for COVID-19 in the Region of the Americas.
Residents of Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), the region which borders Brazil, have also been advised to be watchful and careful.

“The ministry is gravely concerned with the alarming situation emerging just across and along our borders, as our Indigenous brothers and sisters are at extremely high risk for the influx of imported cases and for contracting the disease,” Dr. Persaud lamented.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, in her update on Monday, had also placed emphasis on the growing number of cases in hinterland regions, saying that to date, three of them have recorded positive cases.

“I wish to draw your attention particularly to Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) where seven positive cases have been identified, most of these cases coming from the mining community,” she said, adding: “We are concerned, particularly because other mining communities can be affected, since our miners can transport this disease from the coastland into the interior.

We recognise that our efforts in limiting the spread of this disease are dependent on this community coming fully onboard with the regional health authorities, as well as all other entities which have joined in fighting this disease.”
While hinterland regions remain at high-risk for the disease, Dr. Persaud commended residents and authorities of Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), for the measures employed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a result of those measures, the region has managed to say COVID-19-free, and Dr. Persaud assured the nation that the Ministry of Public Health will continue to work with the region to maintain their status.

While Region Eight has managed to keep a tab on the situation, Region One (Barima-Waini), another hinterland region, has been experiencing a “great deal” of challenges when it comes to keeping residents safe from contracting the coronavirus disease.

“You may have already heard of the ministry’s growing concern for this region, especially as there is a continuous movement of persons in and out of the region, which makes residents extremely vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.”

“So, residents of Region One and particularly our miners, I plead with you to take extra care and adhere to the guidelines for mining in order to protect your families and friends. Please report if you have information of non-nationals entering your region, especially now that the border is closed. The non-official crossings are adding to the burden of surveillance,” said Dr. Persaud.

He said the ministry has also received reports of acts of discrimination in some of the sub-districts in Region One. The CMO asked that persons should desist from discriminating against their fellow citizens, as COVID-19 affects persons directly and indirectly.

“Residents of the communities in Region One, the worst scenario will be your refusal to cooperate with the medical authorities and the guidelines. This fight is for everyone and so I ask you to act responsibly; if a death occurs, then you should support the bereaved family, if someone recovers, you should reach out and give your total support,” Dr. Persaud advised.

COVID-19 remains a serious issue, not just here in Guyana, but globally as well. And, according to global statistics, there are over 5.4 million cases of COVID-19, with over 349,000 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.

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