Regions implementing measures to deal with COVID-19

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Several regions in Guyana have scaled up operations in response to the emergence of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) since Guyana’s first confirmed case was reported.

Specifically, Regions Three, Four, Seven and Eight have taken measures to safeguard the health of residents in these regions.

Recently a joint team from the Ministries of Public Health and Communities and the Health Emergency Operations Centre visited Mahdia in Region Eight, on March 21, to conduct an assessment on the region’s preparedness to handle any case of COVID-19.

Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr. Chrissundra Abdool reported that COVID-19 sensitisation sessions are ongoing in Mahdia while a Medex is stationed in Kato and persons in remote areas are to be trained how to screen patients in their respective communities. A hotline number, 608-7517 has been established for the region.

It was also disclosed that from March 23, a triage area will be set up to screen persons entering the Mahdia Hospital compound. There will also be a sink installed for washing hands. An isolation room has been at the identified that will accommodate three beds thereby allowing the required space to facilitate social distancing.

Additionally, a guest house in Campbelltown, Mahdia has been designated as a quarantine area for persons who are suspected of having been infected with COVID-19. This building is expected to accommodate up to five persons.

In Region Three, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, screening stations were established at the two main health facilities – West Demerara Regional Hospital and Leonora Cottage Hospital – which function at full capacity on a 24hr basis.

Screening will be done at a modified triage system and will be supported by the quarantining of symptomatic and/or non-compliant suspected cases. A quarantine facility has been set up in the regional hospital’s complex, housing suspected cases under mandatory quarantine.

In Region Four’s RHO, Dr. Quincy Jones explained that shortly after the first reported case in Wuhan, China the Demerara-Mahaica area prepared a regional preparedness and prevention strategy which was reviewed by the Ministry of Public Health and implemented.

Dr. Jones noted that this level of preparedness has put the country at an advantage, especially in light of the fact the major international airports are located in this region and the potential for infection is great.

He also disclosed that there has been the continuous training of staff at various health centres as new information concerning COVID-19 is released. Emphasis is placed on prevention, while staff are made aware of how they can identify a suspected case, making referrals and overall try to minimize the spread.

Meanwhile, in Region Seven, Cuyuni-Mazaruni emergency hotlines have been established at the Bartica Regional Hospital. Those numbers are 675-9131, 654-0405, 697-0656. Screening of patients is also taking place at this facility while staff are being sensitized on COVID-19.

On March 17, Regional Health Officers and Regional Executive Officers were engaged in a one-day forum with various government representatives to discuss their preventative plans to combat COVID-19. Mayors and representatives of town councils also participated in the discussion.

During the forum, it was noted that while the Public Health Ministry has met with the Finance Ministry to work on a budget for future actions, those present at the session will also need to take into account monies spent to combat the virus.