(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – AS the world continues to battle against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Guyana is not excluded from the effects of this scourge and in fact, the number of local cases continue to rise, with the latest statistics showing that the country has 57 confirmed cases.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence said the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 moved from 55 to 57 within the last 24 hours, but the deaths remain at six. Most of those cases have, however, been recorded in the nation’s capital, Georgetown.
“Our confirmed cases in Region Four-represent more than 80 per cent with most cases in Georgetown,” said Minister Lawrence during a virtual update on the COVID-19, on Thursday.
Health authorities have so far tested 260 persons of which 203 persons are negative and 57 are positive. Nine of the persons who were infected by these disease, have so far recovered after incubation.
“As it is now, 14 are in institutional quarantine, 42 are in isolation and there are four persons in our COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” said Minister Lawrence during a virtual update on the pandemic, on Thursday.
Of the 57 positive COVID-19 cases, four are known to have a travel history, and the other 53 persons contracted the disease in Guyana.
To date, most of those persons, who tested positive, are males. In the over 50 age group, males and females are almost equally affected, but, in the 30 – 49 age group, most of those who tested positive are almost 4:1 when comparing males to females.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, had said persons with underlying conditions are at additional risk for developing the more complicated form of COVID-19.
In essence, persons, who suffer from chronic lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis or those who suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases associated with immune-compromised cases, are more at risk.
“So, I am appealing to all those persons who fall in this group to take all precautions to prevent this disease. Further, if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 act promptly and seek medical assistance via our Hotline, the COVID-19 app and the nearest Health Facility,” said Minister Lawrence.
Globally, there are close to two million cases of COVID-19, with over 123,010 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 medication, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventative measures to contain the spread of the disease.
Locally, the government had extended its emergency measures to combat the dreaded disease, with the imposition of a 12-hour curfew on citizens. These emergency measures were taken pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) (b) of the directions issued by the President, in accordance with the Public Health Ordinance, Cap. 145, and published in the Official Gazette, Legal Supplement B on March 16 2020.
The measures at reference took effect from April 3, 2020, and will last one month, unless earlier terminated, extended or amended by notice of the Minister of Public Health, after an assessment of the prevailing public health conditions.
President David Granger, in an address to the nation on Saturday evening, said Guyana is in line to receive approximately 30,000 masks, a number of ventilators and other medical equipment from the People’s Republic of China as it ups its fight against COVID-19. Added to that, the country has turned to the Government of India for financial assistance.
According to President Granger, the fight requires unprecedented expenditure and outlay of resources to enable identification and testing, isolation, protection and treatment. These added resources will complement systems already in place to suppress the spread of the virus and provide appropriate medical attention.
As the country wages war against the deadly disease, the Head of State said the efforts of the country’s frontline workers, in particular, those within the medical field, should not go unnoticed.
“I ask you, however, to think tenderly of our public health professionals and service providers, that is to say, our doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all other supporting staff – medical and non-medical – who are providing the required care for those in distress.
Public health practitioners are on the frontline of protecting those stricken by the disease.
They have been working tirelessly through this very difficult situation to provide quality healthcare to those who have been infected and afflicted. Everyone in the public health system has played a vital part in the fight against this disease,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus.
WHO said most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illnesses and recover without requiring special treatment. Older persons and those with underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop serious illness.
The WHO believes that the best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes and how it is spread.
“Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practise respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow),” the WHO has advised.