April 19, 2024



Region 10 COVID-19 death toll skyrocketing

…as vaccination rate remains below 20 %

…1537 confirmed cases, 43 deaths 

By Solomon McGarrell

Over 1500 residents of the Upper-Berbice Region (Region 10), have been tested positive for COVID-19 and 43 of these have succumbed to the virus as of August 5th , 2021. As the death toll continues to rise, regional health officials remain especially concerned that the region has recorded one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, even as double-digit active cases are continuously recorded. As of August 6th, 2021, the region had 30 active cases.

Like many citizens in other parts Guyana, residents of Region 10, have continuously expressed the desire to return to a life of normalcy –  free of COVID-19, but the efforts needed for a speedy return, are not being embraced by all and sundry, hence the numbers keep rising. Persons continue to flout the COVID-19 regulations, by keeping house parties and other social events. What is more disappointing to regional officials however, is that persons are refusing to get vaccinated, despite significant efforts to boost the vaccination drive.

According to the Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr. Gregory Harris, 80 per cent of the region’s population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, however, the district continues to lag behind with only 17.1 per cent of its adult population vaccinated as of August 6th, 2021.

With Ministry of Education signalling its intention to reopen schools in September, the RHO is urging residents, who have not taken the jab, to do so expeditiously. “Take the vaccine, it is safe and efficient; protect yourself, protect your loved ones. If everybody should make a conscientious decision and take the vaccine, that’s the only way we can return to some form of normalcy,” Dr. Harris urged.

He added: “the longer we take to get vaccinated, it will be a much longer and hard road in returning to a normal lifestyle. Most or all of the regions are above 40% vaccinated; Region 10 is holding back the country in reaching the target to achieve herd immunity.”

The RHO said there is no record of fully vaccinated persons dying as a result of the virus.

Though the region has a population of approximately 40,000 people, less than 6000 persons have been vaccinated, a figure which remains a major concern to the health authorities as the country endures the second wave of the novel coronavirus.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Region 10 Health Department, resident’s reluctance in taking the jab was triggered by the misinformation being peddled on social media.

Regional Chairman Deron Adams, during a recent telephone interview with this publication, also expressed his concern about the new COVID-19 variant and pleaded with the ill-informed to turn to reputable sources for information and not just the “regular man in the street.”

“It is killing our people, especially those with underlying conditions; persons age 36 and 17 are now becoming victims of COVID-19. I’ll like to urge persons to rely on credible sources such as PAHO, WHO, credible media houses and stop listening to misinformation,” Adams urged.