……as COVID-19 cases spike countrywide
….. RHO warns against reckless behaviour
As Guyana records a staggering 788 positive COVID-19 cases, the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region has also seen a spike in active cases. Currently the region has 82 active cases.
Regional Health Officer Dr. Gregory Harris, said that the region saw a rapid increase in cases following the holiday season. Prior to that, he said active cases were below 20. While acknowledging that super-spreader social activities could have resulted in the spike, he said those activities should not be seen as the only factor but the general reckless behaviour of the populace. “We need to consider the reckless behaviour of the general public, we also had persons attending activities out of the region as well as a lot of persons visited the region for the holidays,” he reasoned.
With it being suspected that the omicron variant may be in Guyana, Dr. Harris is urging persons to exercise caution and adhere to the COVID-19 measures. “We are not sure if it is here but the omicron variant spreads very fast and easily…we however have been anticipating it and we have put systems in place at the health institutions to deal with the spike. Currently, there are five persons hospitalised at the Upper Demerara Hospital.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Deron Adams said he is very concerned about the spike in cases and is more concerned with the double standard enforcement of the COVID-19 Task Force. Adams was directly referencing to several parties that attracted thousands of people in Linden over the weekend, particularly the cooler fete. “I’m concerned with the Task Force turning a blind eye to these big events and shutting down others. We had one event that was allowed that placed the entire region at risk.” Adams is also urging young people to think of family when socialising. “It may not affect you who are young and asymptomatic but what about your grandmother at home…..I am pleading with our residents to not burden our healthcare system.”
In his latest COVID-19 update, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony stated “Over the last 24 hours we were able to detect 788 new cases and this came from 1,878 tests so the positivity rate has gone up so it’s about 41.95 per cent, and that shows that we have a lot of people getting positive very quickly.”
“We have anticipated that these numbers are going to double and we are seeing that happening right now,” he said.
The total positive cases now stand at 2554, with Region Four having 1648, Region Six, 338, Region Three, 206, Region Nine, 115 and Region 10 with 82 active cases.
Fifty-nine persons are hospitalised with 36 in the Ocean View hospital, five of whom are in the ICU.
Despite the rise in cases, the health minister is assuring citizens that there is adequate testing capacity at the National Public Health Reference laboratory.
“I think we have the capability of doing at least 2000 PCRs over a 24-hour period, that’s fairly large. We also have GeneXpert machines that we have placed at the various regional hospitals so they can do some amount of testing there and with antigen testing it does not require much of an infrastructure, just the test kits. We have adequate test kits across the public health system and they are being used,” Dr. Anthony said.
In addition, more than 12 private health facilities have been certified to do testing.
The minister noted that with the increase in cases, persons may panic and want to get tested, however getting tested too soon after exposure might not get an accurate result.
“Don’t go and swamp the testing sites. We have seen a lot of people showing up at testing sites and demanding to be tested, but if you go too early you are not going to know what’s your true status,” he said.
Persons showing Covid – 19 symptoms are advised to get tested.