Guyana records 12 new cases of COVID-19
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-208 active cases being monitored

GUYANA continues to be burdened by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which continues to spread at alarming rates across the country, with 12 new cases being recorded in the past 24 hours.

Health authorities have so far tested 4,507 persons for the disease, with 4,292 being negative and 413 positive. Of the positive cases, 185 persons have recovered and 20 persons have lost their lives, but authorities are still monitoring 208 active cases. Three of those persons are being treated in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Guyana, on Thursday, took a major leap in the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, with the commissioning of its new Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, at the site of the former Ocean View Hotel. This “leap” is expected to radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff, as the country continues to battle COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, which may arise in the future.

The global pandemic has tested public health systems everywhere. The new reality requires that public health systems increase and strengthen their capacity to address sudden and unexpected outbreaks of communicable diseases by providing more hospital beds, improved protective gear for medical personnel, better communicable diseases surveillance and specialised hospitals, such as this institution, devoted exclusively to infectious diseases.

To this end, President David Granger had said: “The establishment of this infectious diseases’ hospital represents an essential and urgent investment in safeguarding our people’s health, not just against the coronavirus pandemic, but also against future communicable epidemics.”
This facility, which was rehabilitated and built at a cost of $1.6B billion, is seen as an essential element of the emergency response.

Government recognised the urgency of having an institution which could be dedicated exclusively to providing treatment to coronavirus patients. And, according to the President Granger, the model which was developed in the “early days” of the pandemic required Guyana to have the capacity and the capability to achieve accommodation of 197 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients at any one time.

He, therefore, believes that the infectious diseases hospital is strategic, as it will be used primarily for COVID-19 patients but, eventually, will become a fully-specialised communicable disease hospital. Though the facility is there, persons need to remain vigilant and cautious so as to stay out of harm’s way. Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, in an update on Tuesday, had said persons need to take note of the existing situation, especially in the hinterland regions where cases continue to rise daily.

The country, in the early days of the pandemic, had grown accustomed to Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) being the epicentre for the disease, but this has since changed, and Regions Seven and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) are now the “hotspots” for the disease.

Region Nine shares a wide border with Brazil, where COVID-19 is rampant. Globally, Brazil ranks second for the most cases of COVID-19 after the United States of America, and has reported a total of 2,455,905 cases, with 88,017 deaths. Dr. Persaud, however, sought to reassure persons that the Ministry of Public Health is doing everything possible to keep Guyanese safe.

COVID-19 remains a serious issue not just here in Guyana, but globally as well, and according to global statistics, there are 16.8 million cases of COVID-19, with over 662,000 deaths. And, with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease.

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