WITH more persons becoming infected with COVID-19 and more hospitalisations as a result of this, the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has said that the government intends to repurpose hospitals so that the country’s capacity to treat persons would be adequate.
In making this announcement during Thursday’s edition of the COVID-19 update, the minister said that reprioritising health services is necessary since the country has over 3,192 active COVID-19 cases, with 150 of those persons being hospitalised.
Of the active cases, 43 persons are at the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the National Infectious Diseases Hospital, Liliendaal, while a total of 107 persons are receiving general treatment at the facility.
The Infectious Diseases Hospital has the capacity to accommodate 200 persons and has an ICU capacity of 40 patients.
Dr. Anthony had previously related that the government is working to expand the capacity at the Infectious Diseases Hospital and will also utilise the field hospital, which was donated by Qatar to boost Guyana’s response to COVID-19.
Even with the expansion plans in place, Dr. Anthony, on Thursday, affirmed that the government has enough contingencies to cater to any increases in hospitalisations.
He said that the ministry is already exploring the possibility of having sections of hospitals repurposed to focus on COVID-19 patients and their needs. To support this initiative, staff and resources will be redeployed.
“We’ll have to reprioritise because the more people we get sick with COVID and the more people that are coming down with the more severe form of the disease, we’ll have to reprioritise and maybe those non-essential kinds of services, we’ll have to close those and redeploy staff and resources to treat with the severe cases… so we have a number of contingencies in place and we’ll activate them as necessary,” Minister Anthony said.
Although there are contingencies, the minister said that persons have to be responsible and take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
Minister Anthony reminded citizens that they should not depend solely on authorities such as the COVID-19 task force to enforce the guidelines, but must also take it upon themselves to be responsible, especially when in public spaces.
He said that with the Delta variant proven to be more transmissible, persons must be cautious when in spaces where persons are in breach of the COVID-19 guidelines.
He reminded citizens too that it is necessary to take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19 and this includes wearing masks, social distancing, sanitising, and vaccination.
The Health Minister made a special plea to those persons who have comorbidities, noting that since they are “at-risk” for being badly affected if they contract the virus, they should ensure that the necessary precautions are taken to ensure protection.
“That’s one of the reasons why they need to get vaccinated because they are at risk, they are at increased risk of getting the negative effects of COVID. So, if you have these risk factors then you should get vaccinated, plus age is also a risk factor.
“While we have seen younger children being affected with Delta, we’re seeing a lot of the deaths so far are older people so if you’re older, you have to take those additional precautions,” Minister Anthony said.