Oct 26, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Region One (Barima-Waini) has once again become a COVID-19 hotspot causing the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ramp up their measures to tackle and manage its spread.
A senior official of the Ministry told this publication that over the past month, an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases was observed in the region, which was followed with the MOH sending in personnel to conduct testing and isolation.
Also in their plan to properly detect and manage the virus will be the use of antigen tests. The Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, recently announced that the government has ordered 20,000 antigen tests, which was stated to be perfect for testing in hinterland areas since the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests samples taken in those areas have to be sent to the National Public Health Reference Lab located in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) to be processed.
The official said that the transportation of test samples to Georgetown was causing a serious backlog in the delivery of test results, which also affected efficient contact tracing when persons test positive for the virus. It was explained that when tests results take longer to return, persons infected with the virus would have already interacted with multiple people making it harder for everyone to be traced. With the antigen tests, persons in remote areas will have access to onsite testing and have their results within an hour.
Kaieteur News understands that health authorities in the area have taken the initiative of placing persons in institutional quarantine near the Kumaka District Hospital so that if their condition worsens they can be quickly transported for medical attention.
The official further disclosed that the influx of cases came as a result of persons not adhering to the mandated COVID-19 regulations.
Region One currently has the second-highest number of cases in the country with 663 confirmed cases. In the past month, it has recorded multiple COVID-19 deaths and over 200 new cases.
A particular community within the region named Kwebanna has since been put on lockdown for 14 days after being named the COVID-19 hotspot of the region. The village which has a population of just fewer than 1,000 has recorded over 50 COVID-19 cases and two deaths in one month, which is alarming, according to the official.
It was announced that during the lockdown period that no one will be able to exit or enter the village unless authorization is given and ranks of the Guyana Police Force and regional authorities will be monitoring to make sure the lockdown measures are followed.
Months ago, the region was declared a COVID-19 hotspot with many of the infections occurring in Moruca. A lockdown was put in place to curb further spread of the virus and in August, regional health authorities reported that they were COVID-19free.
The Health Ministry believes that if an improved approach including methods used previously is enforced, then the region can recover once again, swiftly.
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