–Minister Anthony says
THERE has been a slight increase in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths recorded locally and as such, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony has urged members of the public to get their much-needed COVID-19 booster shots.
The minister, speaking during his daily COVID-19 update on Thursday, reminded the public that there were no documented COVID-19 deaths in October and that only 87 infections were recorded. Comparatively, the figures for November are much higher.
“In November this year, we already have three deaths and we have 107 cases so far. So, there seems to be an uptick in terms of cases and in terms of people requiring hospitalisation,” Dr. Anthony said.
In response to this rise in deaths and infections, the Health Ministry immediately amplified its health response.
“We have put all our doctors and medical personnel, again on alert. The systems at Ocean View Hospital are fully deployed. So, really sick patients would go there. All the units that we have across the country at different regional hospitals are available if people get really sick,” the Health Minister said.
Even with the best preparation, however, Dr Anthony lamented that enough people are not taking their COVID-19 booster shots. In fact, he said only 76,131 persons received their first booster dose while 4,276 have taken a second booster dose.
“We haven’t seen a lot of people coming forward to be vaccinated. So, let’s take over the last 24 hours: we have had 63 vaccines being administered and that’s with all the vaccination centres that we have at this point in time. We are really encouraging people if you have had your vaccines more than six months ago, or four months ago, it is time for you to come back and get either your booster shots or to continue your vaccination,” Dr Anthony said.
These booster shots are taken after someone has been vaccinated with their primary doses; that is, their first and second COVID-19 jabs. Persons eligible for third and fourth booster doses are encouraged to take them.
Further, Dr Anthony urged the public to stay immunised by taking a booster shot every four to six months. This is particularly necessary for those individuals who have underlying health conditions and as such, are more prone to experiencing severe symptoms of the disease.
He also announced that arrangements were made to send genetic samples from the three persons who recently died for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago.
During his update too, the Health Minister reminded Guyanese of the numerous strategies implemented to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and assist the country in preparation for future pandemics. These include enhancing the laboratory systems, preparing better diagnostics, training people, strengthening surveillance, dispersing laboratory training, and efficient response systems.