– residents becoming complacent, weary
By Vishani Ragobeer
EVEN though the indigenous community of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway, has been experiencing another spike in the number of residents infected with the COVID-19 virus, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony assured that there are no concerns of persons becoming re-infected.
“The cases that we have seen in St. Cuthbert’s Mission are really not re-infections…that’s not what we’re seeing, we’re seeing new people who are now getting the infection,” the minister explained on Monday, during his daily COVID-19 update with the Department of Public Information (DPI).
Re-infections occur when someone previously infected with the virus, COVID-19, becomes infected once again. Studies are still ongoing to determine how re-infection occurs with the coronavirus, but Minister Anthony previously told the Guyana Chronicle that it may be possible for persons to become re-infected with COVID-19 if they have been exposed to another strain of the virus.
Guyana is not yet able to determine whether newer variants of the virus have been imported from the United Kingdom (UK), Brazil or South Africa where newer, more transmissible variants have been discovered in recent weeks. But, it is expected that by the end of this week, samples which appeared to be ‘abnormal’ will be analysed.
The minister also indicated that some of the newer cases recorded in the community have been recorded in children at the school there. But, like most of the other infected individuals, they are not exhibiting any symptoms. The ministry has allowed these asymptomatic persons to isolate at home and it has been monitoring those persons so that the necessary actions can be taken should they develop any signs or symptoms associated with COVID-19. A medical team is present in the community, conducting tests and contact- tracing with the residents.
Meanwhile, Toshao of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, Beverley Clenkian, during a telephone interview with the Guyana Chronicle, said that residents are becoming complacent with the guidelines in place to protect against COVID-19.
According to the toshao, persons travelling in and out of the community are not taking as many precautions as they did before. This, perhaps, has contributed to the spike in the number of cases here again. She also said that it appears as though the residents have become weary of these guidelines since the community has already experienced a lockdown only in November, last year.
Nevertheless, she said that the village council is trying to reinforce the need to adhere to the social-distancing and sanitation guidelines, so that the spread of the virus can be mitigated. She also highlighted that the council is engaging the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs to provide some of the residents with hampers and supplies, while they are isolating.