Sep 02, 2021 News
As Delta variant surges…
Kaieteur News – With a rise in COVID -19 cases due to what is suspected to be a surge in the deadly Delta variant locally, healthcare workers are bracing for a massive increase in admittance at the COVID-19 Hospital.
Head of Medical Services at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Mahendra Carpen, told Kaieteur News yesterday that preparations have begun at the COVID-19 medical facility located at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara in anticipation of a higher influx of cases.
Dr. Carpen disclosed that at least 85 beds at the hospital, which is built to accommodate 250 infected persons, are currently occupied.
He noted since Guyana is experiencing a similar surge of the virus to that which is happening in other countries, which have been confirmed to have the new Delta variant of SARS- CoV- 2 virus, it is safe to assume that the variant is already here. As such, he noted the need for preparations to be made for a rise in cases. In fact, he noted that the Ministry of Health has been proactive in this regard.
According to Dr. Carpen, the Ministry has already started to equip the COVID-19 Infectious Diseases Hospitals with the necessary resources. “Based on what we are seeing and anticipating, a 300 percent increase in the cases can be expected, but I must commend the Ministry of Health for being proactive on this. We have already started planning and preparing for it. We are looking to cater for 250 more persons at the COVID-19 hospital [alone], so we are looking to add that quantity in beds and other equipment including ventilators and monitors as well as the necessary human resources,” he shared.
As it relates to safeguarding the public against the new deadly variant, Dr. Carpen said that there is no real defence against the infection except being vaccinated.
“Everyone is at risk; the virus is highly contagious. The only way to continually protect yourself is to ensure that you wear your mask, practice social distancing, and good hand washing hygiene and most importantly ensure that you get vaccinated,” Dr. Carpen said.
He noted too that the same category of people who were at higher risk of contracting the virus initially, remain susceptible to the Delta variant. “These include older persons and those with co-morbidities,” he said.
Added to this, Dr. Carpen explained that while the symptoms of the new variant are generally the same, there are added indicators with the Delta variant; these symptoms are not usually associated with persons suffering from respiratory illness.
He explained that, “in addition to the usual fever, coughing, shortness of breath, there are some added indicators including headache, abdominal pain, fatigue, weakness, runny nose, diarrhoea and vomiting.”
As such, Dr. Carpen emphasised the importance of being vaccinated against the virus. While, he agreed that the vaccine does not provide any guarantee that people will not get sick, Dr. Carpen believes it is their last defence against the deadly infection.
“We look around in the ICU and people who are dying in the numbers are the ones who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated persons usually don’t end up in the ICU or die. When we look at the statistics, over 95 percent of unvaccinated persons or that same figure succumb or end up really sick due to COVID-19,” Dr. Carpen added.
His comments came on the heels of an announcement by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, on Tuesday that Guyana is experiencing a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and he suspects it is the Delta variant.
The Minister said the situation is “worrying” as COVID infections and deaths continue to climb. This, the Minister explained may also result in more hospitalisations and, as such, plans are being made to increase the capacity at the Infectious Diseases Hospital and may also see other hospitals being converted to COVID-19 hospitals.
In the meantime, Guyana’s COVID-19 infection rate continues to rise rapidly. Out of over 25,323 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in Guyana since the pandemic started in March last year, some 2,555 persons tested positive from August 1 through 27 alone.
This includes a total of 63 persons, mostly women, who lost their lives after falling victim to the deadly disease. During this period too, specifically on August 24, the Ministry of Health recorded 207 new cases, making that the highest number of cases recorded within a 24-hour period than any other day of the month. The least number of new cases recorded on a single day in that month was August 8, which had 12 cases. As of yesterday, the country has recorded a total of 624 deaths due to COVID-19.
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