Inter-regional movement from Reg 7’s hot spots pose threat to other administrative areas
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 7, 2020
A detailed report presented by the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) has categorised the 10 administrative regions into four groups based on the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in each district.
The categories are Low, Elevated, high and Severe Threat.
Low-risk areas are Region Two, Five and Eight all of which at the time of the compilation of the report had no confirmed cases of the virus. However, Region Eight recorded its first positive cases pf COVID-19 on July 3, 2020.
Region Six is said to be at elevated risk due to density and vulnerable rural areas; while Region Nine and Ten are high-risk. Regions One, Four and Seven present severe threats.
Region Seven, although the region with the third-highest number of cases (36 as of 3 July), poses a threat to 5 of 10 administrative regions due to movement in and out of the district.
Most of the cases in the region are associated with the mining areas of Aranka, Arangoy, Oko and Bartica. In June, Ministry officials reported that residents in Aranka were non-compliant with COVID-19 testing.
Aranka is currently on a mandatory lockdown as medical teams are in the community and surrounding mining areas to conduct mass screening and testing of individuals living and working there.
Region One, with the second-highest number of COVID cases (79 as of 3 July) has seen them emanating mostly from Santa Rosa in the Moruca, sub district. Communities such as Kumaka, Karabun, Manawarin and Kwabana are at risk due to constant movement of persons between Santa Rosa and these communities.
On July 4, it was reported that officials in Santa Rosa have imposed a 14-day lockdown to arrest the increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the area.
Meanwhile, Kokerite Village in Region One, is at elevated risk due to overland movement of persons between Region Seven and One, using the trail that runs from the Cuyuni River and along the Aranka, Arangoy and Imotai Rivers, north to Kokerite Village.
In turn, areas such as Charity, Supenaam and Anna Regina in Region Two are at an elevated risk, as a result of the movement of persons to and from Region One; especially from Moruca through Charity and Supenaam.
The region is known for its heavy transportation, commercial and social activities. Despite having no recorded cases, Region Two is at risk due to potential for cross-contamination, according to the Task Force.
Additionally, overland travel between Buck Hall and Aranka/Arongoy in Region Seven poses a severe threat in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara). The Parika port in Region Three is also used as a transit for persons travelling from Region One and Two.
So far Region Three has recorded 16 COVID-19 cases (as of 3 July). The National Task Force estimates that these numbers may rise due to these factors.
Persons in Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) are also associated with travelling to and from Seven, as well as Region Four, Eight and Nine. Most of this commute happens to pass through Linden in Region Ten.
In May, Regional Health Officer (RHO) of Region Seven, Dr. Edward Sagala confirmed that an individual who travelled from Aranka to Linden tested positive in Region Ten, which has now recorded 9 positive cases (as of 3 July).
While the Task Force puts Region Eight at low risk, a link road between Region Seven and Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) may put the region at an elevated risk. Persons travelling from Region Four, the presence of Venezuelan and Brazilian migrants and the unmanned Guyana-Brazil border also contribute to threats to the region.
Region Four, which houses the capital city, has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases (105 as of 3 July). Locations such as Kitty, Brickdam, Bourda and Cummings Lodge in Georgetown are the defined hotspots.
Apart from the number of recorded positive cases, factors such as cross border movement, proximity and accessibility to known COVID 19 hot spots, access to medical care and services and remoteness of communities were also used to help determine threat levels.