COVID-19 vaccinations crucial, as Guyana experiences ‘Delta surge’
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Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

–Health Minister says

MINISTER of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has said that getting the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines is crucial, since Guyana is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

“The numbers are climbing, we are seeing more people getting infected and it is also very worrying because if we don’t manage this carefully, our hospitals can easily be overwhelmed,” the minister lamented during his daily COVID-19 update, on Tuesday.

Importantly, he said that 111 people, who have been infected with COVID-19, are hospitalised after experiencing the more severe symptoms of the disease. Of that number, 80 patients are receiving care in the National Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

He also lamented that 33 patients are receiving care in the hospital’s COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU); this unit usually treats those patients that are severely ill and who may have difficulties breathing on their own.

Beyond those hospitalised patients, the Ministry of Health reported, on Tuesday afternoon, that nine persons died between August 29 and 31. This means that the total number of deaths recorded since March 2020 has increased to 622.

A 91-year-old woman and a 58-year-old man, who were both from Region Four (Demerara- Mahaica), died on August 29. An 82-year-old man and an 88-year-old man, both from Region Four, as well as a 42-year-old man from Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam) died on August 30.

And finally, a 71-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man, who were both from Region Four, in addition to a 66-year-old woman from Region Three (Essequibo Islands- West Demerara) and a 56-year-old man from Region Two, died on August 31.

Additionally, 145 new infections were recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the overall number of confirmed cases to 25,548. But, 23,018 patients have recovered from the virus.

The new cases were reported in the following regions; Region One (three cases), Region Two (nine cases), Region Three (20 cases), Region Four (90 cases), Region Five (six cases), Region Six (13 cases), Region Seven (two cases), Region Nine (one case) and Region 10 (one case).

“I really want people to understand that we are in a Delta surge and we are going to see more cases, and, unfortunately, more hospitalisations and more deaths,” Dr. Anthony related, adding: “We can prevent these things from happening by our actions and if we take precautions, we can be safer.”

Guyana has been unable to definitively confirm the presence of any variant due to a lack of scientific testing, but previously, the Health Minister explained that the local health authorities are assuming the presence of different variants due to the clinical data they have gathered.
Importantly, as he has stated before, the Health Minister said that if individuals are vaccinated, they will be protected from the more severe and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.

To date, 313,469 persons in Guyana have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 161, 022 persons are fully vaccinated. Also, 2,176 children received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony lamented that if this trend of increasing COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths continues, the government may have to consider increasing its hospitalisation capacity and, possibly, shuttering some services at hospitals.

Already, he related that consideration has been given to adding an additional 50 beds to the Liliendaal hospital. Currently, the hospital can accommodate 40 ICU patients and 200 persons, generally.

“We might have, if it becomes necessary, to close some of the services at other hospitals and convert those hospitals for solely COVID patients,” Dr. Anthony related.

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