NO COVID -19 patient in Bartica

Press Release

Ministry of Public Health

─Region Seven RHO Dr Edward Sagala assures

Georgetown, Guyana – Saturday, March 14, 2020

Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr. Edward Sagala early Saturday debunked rumours that the second case of COVID -19 in Guyana has surfaced in the mining town of Bartica.

Dr. Sagala said an employee of Aruwai Resort complained of flu-like symptoms this week and after medical checks self-quarantined.

Dr Edward Sagala

Dr. Edward Sagala, Regional Health Officer, Region 7

“Her condition is improving,” Sagala said in a telephone interview early Saturday.

The Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) RHO said contrary to local social media posts, the Aruwai worker was never hospitalised because “she never displayed any of the classical signs” of COVID-19 after examination by Bartica Hospital medical officials.

COVID-19 signs and symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath. As a consequence, health authorities advise avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections; practice frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment and avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also counsel that people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection practice cough etiquette, that is, maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands.

“We are fighting for our lives,” Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence told members of the recently-activated Health Emergency Operating Centre (HEOC) Friday.

Minister Lawrence counselled HEOC member and the nation not to “put your selves in harms way (since) these are not normal circumstances”.

The Public Health Minister expressed confidence that Guyana is “going to win this battle if we are all on the same page.”

“I am in it to win it” Minister Lawrence emphasised.

The Minister commended Port Health workers calling them “our champions” who must be well rested so they can continue giving the nation “their best”.

“We don’t want another COVID-19 case in Guyana,” Minister Lawrence emphasised.

Dr Sagala assured Barticians, including businesses, Saturday that “there is no need to panic”.

The COVID – 19 outbreaks started in city of Wuhan in Hubei Providence, China in December 2019. Currently, there is a world-wide effort by scientists to develop a vaccine to treat the virus.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has promised G$80M (US$400,000) to help in the Guyana COVID -19 fight, PAHO/WHO Guyana Representative, Ghanaian Dr William Adu-Krow, announced at Friday’s HEOC meeting in the capital.

Dr Adu-Krow told HEOC members that Georgetown “needs to look at all the funding streams” available globally to help boost local interventions in the government’s ongoing COVID-19 fight.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Shamdeo Persaud is reminding Guyanese that the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) is the only body “authorised and has the capacity to test for COVID -19”.

If there is a suspect Corona Virus case samples will be taken and sent to the NPHRL and “we will test and issue definitive results as COVID -19 detected or not detected” Dr Cyril Gittens, Director of the local laboratory said Saturday.

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COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.