GUYANA has seen an alarming increase in the number of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases over the past few days, and it was no different over the past 24 hours, as the country recorded 19 new cases within that time.
Those cases were found following 143 tests, which were done between Sunday and Monday. Health authorities here have so far tested 4,416 persons, with 4,027 proving negative and 389 positive.
According to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, 181 of those tested positive have since recovered, though, unfortunately, 20 did not make it. And while there are yet 188 active cases being monitored by authorities, four of those persons are being treated in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
And, of the 57 patients the COVID-19 ICU has so far seen, 11 have died, 29 were transferred, and nine were discharged.
“For your information, those discharged from both the ICU and the isolation centres are in accordance with the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines which Guyana adopted,” Dr. Persaud said during a virtual COVID-19 update on Monday.
“This ensures that everyone who is discharged is assessed as free of COVID-19,” he added.
Even as persons are being discharged, there is a simultaneous increase in cases, but according to Dr. Persaud, most of those cases are being recorded in hinterland regions.
Testimony to this was the fact all 19 cases recorded on Monday were from Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
According to Ron James, a member of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA), communities in Region Nine are struggling because resources are limited.
“Some persons are fearful; some of the villages are underprepared for this pandemic… We are calling on health authorities to see if more assistance can be brought to those communities in a timely manner,” James said during a press briefing on Monday.
The APA representative also called for the authorities to “ramp up” testing for COVID-19 in Region Nine and other hinterland areas.
“As you are aware,” James said during the briefing on Monday, “our cases continue to climb steadily, especially in the hinterland regions. The new cases for the weekend came from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), with nine case; on Sunday, four cases for Region Nine, and six cases for Region Six. Today, 19 are coming from Region Nine.”
As Dr. Persaud observed during his update on Monday, “We continue to emphasise that there is need for more community action. Village councillors, gate-keepers and prominent members of the communities, we are asking you to remind those who look up to you to tell them that we can only keep the transmission down if.”
He further advised persons to stay at home and only leave if there is an urgent need, and to wear a mask in public. Persons were also encouraged to practise social distancing, avoid gatherings of more than 10 persons and sanitise properly.
Preventative measures are important because there is still no cure or vaccine available for this disease.
“So you have to live with this for a few more months or for as long as the disease persists; therefore you have to ensure that these practices become part of your routine,” said Dr. Persaud.
Considering the prevalence of the disease, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) Dr. Karen Boyle had also said: “I plead with you not to tire of wearing your mask, washing your hands and staying six feet apart. These simple activities are the key to protecting ourselves and others.” She reminded persons that a collective effort is needed in order for Guyana not to be overwhelmed by the highly-infectious coronavirus disease.
COVID-19 remains a serious issue not just here in Guyana, but globally as well, and according to global statistics, there are 15.7 million cases of COVID-19, with over 640,000 deaths. And, with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease. In the absence of approved medications, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventive measures to contain the spread of the disease.