Some 55,429 COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far for the month of January this year, surpassing the number of tests conducted for the entire 2020, when Guyana confirmed its first imported case, says Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony. The official noted that for 2020, only 38,548 tests were conducted, while 387, 266 were done for the year 2021.
The Minister’s reportage comes on the heels of his ministry restricting polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing only to those who are hospitalised or live in at-risk areas. The move has been dubbed by the Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon as tactic to hide the true COVID-19 situation on the ground to conceal the administration’s “incompetence” and “mismanagement” of the pandemic.
But Anthony attributed the increase in testing to an apparent overreaction to the supposed existence of the Omicron variant here. He said that persons are rushing to testing sites for PCR tests without displaying symptoms or coming in contact with infected persons. This mad rush, he said, has caused clogs in the system.
The PCR selective restriction is being done with an aim to use these tests “responsibly”, he said. He added that citizens can still access rapid tests from other public facilities across the country.
The Minister is also urging persons to get vaccinated. So far, 419,509 adults have received a first jab. This represents 81.8% of the adult population, with 306,831 (59.8%) receiving both doses.
Some 32,040 persons between the ages of 12 and 17 have received a first dose, with 22,565 taking both jabs. This translates to 43.9% and 30.9% respectively. Meanwhile, 31, 124 have received booster shots.
There are 145 persons hospitalised with COVID-19, of which, 105 are at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Liliendaal, with 16 patients in that facility’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).