St. Cuthbert’s Mission mulls extension of lockdown
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Toshao of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Ms. Beverly Clenkian
Toshao of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Ms. Beverly Clenkian

…amidst rising COVID-19 cases

By Jared Liddell

WITH health authorities battling to control the spread of the deadly new coronavirus in the indigenous community of St. Cuthbert’s Mission on the Mahaica River, in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), the Village Council is considering to extend the current two-week lockdown.
The lockdown commenced on November 7, and is expected to end on November 20, but the village’s Toshao, Ms. Beverly Clenkian, told the Guyana Chronicle on Sunday that a decision is to be made shortly on whether or not to extend the period for another two weeks.
With a population of some 1,500 people, St. Cuthbert’s has recorded a total of 225 positive COVID-19 cases, an increase of 57 from November 13 to date.
“We are looking into extending the lockdown past the initial two weeks, but that is depending on the trend that we see with the positive cases,” Toshao Clenkian said. “But we want to see how the last week of this initial lockdown goes, then we will make the decision,” she added.
She said that the community will be consulting with the COVID-19 Task Force and the medical team before making a final decision on a possible extension of the lockdown.

According to her, since the lockdown began, residents have been actively following the COVID-19 guidelines, as the medical team is still involved in rapid testing in the community.

An aerial view of St Cuthbert’s Mission

“More persons have been following the COVID-19 preventative guidelines since the lockdown began, so I’m glad for that. And I know that if the persons continue to follow them, we would be able to control the situation here in St. Cuthberts,” the toshao said.
Persons who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms are self-isolating at home, while others are receiving medical care.
Even though schools were reopened across the country on November 9 for those students preparing to write the CSEC and CAPE exams next year, Toshao Clenkian said that this has been put on hold in St. Cuthbert’s.

The Guyana Chronicle understands that teachers and children have tested positive for the virus in the community, so, for the next six days, no one will be allowed in or out of the village, unless authorised by the relevant authorities. This, and other measures, will be implemented and supervised by regional authorities and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, during the daily COVID-19 update on Friday last, had stated that the ministry is administering more tests in the community, even as restrictions remain in place to curb transmission.

“St. Cuthbert’s has been challenging; we have spoken to the Village Council, and we have been working with them. And they have been helping by talking to residents. It is quite a large village, and is spread over a large territory,” stated the Health Minister.

He said that the situation can be brought under control, but warned that for this to happen, residents must follow the COVID-19 preventative measures, such as self-isolation, cutting back on social activities, and practising social distancing.

“Sometimes trying to monitor everybody can pose a challenge. We have been deterring residents from going out, continued to do testing, and as of today, we have had 168 persons who are positive. And as we do more testing, I expect those numbers would go up,” Dr. Anthony said, adding:
“We have to get people to self-isolate; we have to get people to reduce their social activity within St Cuthbert’s. And, I guess, once we are able to accomplish some level of social distancing, and people stay at home, we would be able to control the spread.”

The minister highlighted that the main entrance and exit in the community are being monitored, and residents are being deterred from going out.
The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has been assisting residents by providing hampers with essential items.

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