With Guyana still having 153 cases of the novel coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) and 12 deaths, the department of public health in Region Five has taken public health countermeasures to stop the transmission of the virus.
These measures are to ensure that the health-care system does not become overwhelmed by a surge of COVID-19 positive of patients.
They will also help buy time for the development of medical countermeasures such as medicines with greater efficacy against the virus, vaccines, and even a cure.
The countermeasures are as follows:
Public Health Surveillance; Surveillance is the backbone of public health. Our strategies include early screening, rapid diagnosis and reporting, case management reporting, contact investigations, and the monitoring of trends. To this end, we are involved in robust surveillance reporting and follow-up of each case of Acute Respiratory Illness (ARI) from all health institutions through the RHEOC surveillance team which shares its data with the department of epidemiology, MoPH, and the HEOC on a daily basis.
Checkpoints: three checkpoints have been established to screen persons entering the region from, regions 4 and 6. All commuters are screened for elevated body temperatures – this allows for efficient screening, early isolation, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients.
Institutional quarantine: we have established a quarantine facility at the experiment health center. It has a capacity of 22 beds – and allows us to safely quarantine those residents who have been exposed to Covid-19. These patients will be monitored daily by our team of medical professionals who will provide the highest level of medical care to all patients at the facility.
Institutional isolation. Separate wards of the Mahaicony Hospital have been designated for isolation and proper management of COVID-19 positive patients.
Efficient laboratory practices for sample taking and testing: Currently, six staff have been trained in sample taking; testing is done at the National Reference Laboratory – and, the turnaround time for results is 24hrs.
Physical distancing: the department continues to advocate physical distancing of at least 6ft between residents.
Hygienic measures: frequent handwashing- installation of handwashing stations at all health facilities, offices, businesses, and other places where it is observed that residents congregate, biweekly (twice) sanitization of markets, health institutions, and public offices.
Use of face mask: Each resident advised to use a face mask in public especially when social distancing cannot be achieved successfully.
Continuation of routine services: To ensure a continuation of routine services we have made strategic shifts relating to staffing at our facilities to ensure that our limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population: Continuation of routine vaccination; reproductive health services; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, and TB.
Critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others, all continue to be offered on a 24-hour basis.
Do not forget to call our hotline numbers in the event that you suspect you may have COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Finally, staff must also comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and are provided with adequate supplies of personal protective equipment to prevent them from becoming infected with COVID-19.
The department urges all residents to observe the national public health guidelines as we work together to defeat COVID-19.
To date, the total number of persons tested is 1, 658 with the number of negative cases being 1,505. Seventy persons would have recovered.
There are 71 active cases in institutional isolation, two patients in the COVID Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and 23 patients in institutional quarantine.
Globally, there are 5, 934, 936 cases with 367, 166 deaths. In the Region of the Americas, the total number of cases is 2 743, 793 with 157 702 deaths.