– Hinterland regions still COVID-19 ‘hotspots’
CURTAILING the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has proven to be a challenge for the local authorities, as cases continue to spread rapidly, with 96 cases being recorded in the past 96 hours.
In the past 24 hours alone, the country recorded 23 new cases of the disease. The authorities have so far tested 4,975 persons, with 4,478 proving negative and 497 positive.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, in presenting the recent statistics, said that of the 497 persons who’ve tested positive, 186 have recovered, 22 lost their lives, and 289 are classified as active cases which are being monitored by authorities. Two of the active cases are being treated in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
In light of the foregoing figures, Dr. Persaud is urging persons to be wary of the prevailing situation, especially in the hinterland communities where the virus has been spreading like “wildfire”.
All of the recent cases, he reported, were from hinterland regions, with eight originating in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); four in Region Eight (Potaro Siparuni); and 11 in the villages of Aranaputa and Annai in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
Amidst the rise in cases, health authorities will be looking to “tighten” control measures in order to prevent the further transmission of the raging coronavirus disease.
As has been his wont every day to caution residents of hinterland communities about taking foolish risks, Dr. Persaud said: “I plead with you to halt the illicit cross-border movement; look out for the migrants and report their presence immediately to the Authorities. On a personal level, I ask you to cooperate and comply with the regulations of social distancing and the hygiene etiquette.”
And just in case that did not do the trick, he said: “Fellow Guyanese, I know that you have been following closely these daily briefs, and that you are aware that our cases continue to climb, especially in the hotspot areas of Regions Seven and Nine.”
That said, he sought to remind his audience that the coronavirus is not selective or exclusive. “It’s all around; in and out of Guyana,” Dr. Persaud said, adding:
“So everyone, everywhere, in all the ten administrative regions needs to make that special effort to continue playing a part in spreading the message about COVID-19. There should be no letting up; complacency and worse still a laissez faire attitude can be our undoing.”
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
Sadly, misconceptions about COVID-19 still persist, including the belief that the disease doesn’t exist; that wearing a mask causes the disease, and that even testing brings about the disease. These are “all myths”, which, according to Dr. Persaud, need to be dispelled if Guyana is going to “break the back of the camel” not only in Regions Seven and Nine, but in every community.
This, he believes, is the only way that persons can be supportive of the selfless efforts of the health workers on the frontline who are risking their lives to prevent the further transmission of the raging coronavirus.
“This brings me to the whole question of testing, which determines our positive and negative cases, and puts in train our surveillance team to track contacts and identify additional sources,” Dr. Persaud said, adding: “Bravo to the surveillance team and lab staff working to provide us with timely results! However, on a more widespread level, I encourage all those experiencing symptoms to come forward and take advantage of our testing facilities.”
He made a special plea to young persons, urging them not to delay, but seek medical assistance at the earliest.
“Fellow Guyanese, our irresponsible actions impinge greatly on our health workers whom we need to protect at all costs. They have families just like us; they want to enjoy life too; they deserve this, but they are making the sacrifice to protect all of us,” said the CMO.
He encouraged persons to cooperate and comply with all regulations of social distancing, hygiene etiquette and wearing of the mask in public.
COVID-19 remains a serious issue not just here in Guyana, but globally as well, and according to global statistics, there are 17.9 million cases of COVID-19, with over 686,000 deaths. And, with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease.