35 new COVID-19 cases recorded; 8 persons in ICU

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Head of the COVID-19 mobile unit, Dr. Keon Harmon, demonstrates how a sample is taken

As of August 21st, Guyana has recorded an additional 35 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total positive cases to 881, with 30 COVID-19 related deaths.

An update provided by the Ministry of Health has indicated that there are 410 or 46.5% person under close monitoring with 77 in Institutional Isolation, and 333 in approved home isolation. 8 persons are in COVID ICU.

A total of 433 persons or 49.2% have recovered thus far and have been release on home monitoring with strict measures to prevent any further re-infection.

Over the period 15-20 August, 218 new cases were reported; these cases came mainly from Regions 4 (EBD and clusters in Georgetown) Region 9 (Lethem area), Region 7(Bartica and surrounding area) Region 10 (Rivers view on the East Bank of the Essequibo river) and from the West Coast and West Bank areas of Region 3.

As of 21st August 2020; the number of persons tested is 6,628 with 5,743 persons being negative.

There has been an intensification of testing countrywide over the past two weeks or so by the Health Ministry.

President Irfaan Ali a few days ago, announced that the Government is in the process of sourcing two new automatic machines to boost the COVID-19 testing capacity of the country’s health system; which would result in the testing turnaround time being reduced from 9 hours to 2 hours.

According to President Ali, this will not only clear the backlog but significantly improve the country’s capacity to do mass testing, which will become necessary in the eventual opening up of the economy and country.

“Testing has moved from a position of 40-60 per day to 96-140 per day. Notwithstanding this significant improvement, there is a backlog of 700 tests results. This is as a result of the manual PCR machines currently used and also the lack of medical technologists.

In relation to ventilators, the President noted that there currently four in operation at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). However, he expressed that by next week, 29 additional ventilators will be in the country to be utilised not only at GPHC but in all the regions.

President Ali had also announced that in dealing with issues of isolation, the Ministry would convert the inoperable Infectious Disease Centre to an isolation centre. On this basis, he noted that arrangements are being made to have a facility that caters to at least 150 patients requiring isolation.