BA.2 subvariant could be behind rising COVID-19 numbers – Health Minister

0
Beds within the Infectious Disease Hospital at Liliendaal [File Photo]

As the Health Ministry continues to study the driving factors behind this week’s increased COVID-19 positives, there are contentions that this could be linked to the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron strain here.

A sudden uptick in COVID-19 cases this week has led to an increase in active cases. Now, six persons are hospitalised. Four are intubated – a new trend which the Ministry has identified.

Addressing the situation on Friday, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony pointed out that the different subvariants of Omicron have been circulating. Following January’s wave of about 20,000 cases, linked to the BA.1 strain, authorities have concluded that the new spike could be linked to the BA.2 subvariant causing local infections.

“One of the new subvariants is BA.2, which is now becoming very dominant globally. You’re seeing more countries in Europe, the Americas, having a BA.2 subvariant that is circulating…I think because we have such close contact with the US and other countries, eventually we would have those cases coming here as well. Maybe this new increase in cases is perhaps being fuelled by a BA.2 subvariant,” the Health Minister contended in the briefing.

In conjunction with close monitoring, samples will be sent for genomic sequencing to determine definitely which variant is circulating here. Authorities are also examining the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which has shown higher transmissibility.

Active cases have climbed to 277 across the country. Region Four is recording a majority of the new positives, as 166 active infections are being monitored. The remainder cases are dispersed in other regions, showing 55 in Region Six, 27 in Region Three, 11 in Region Two.

The daily dashboard showed an increase of 36 cases on Friday, resulting in 63,772 total infections to date. Some 29,364 males contracted the virus along with 34,408 females.

There are four persons in the specialised Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 12 in institutional isolation, 249 in home isolation and zero in institutional quarantine. Recoveries now stand at 62,279 while 609,376 tests have been conducted.

Regionally, there were four new cases in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 19 in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), and 13 in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

In Guyana, 441,071 first doses and 340,572 second doses were distributed to adults. This is approximately 86 per cent and 66.4 per cent, respectively. For children aged 12 to 17, 25,355 or 34.7 per cent are completely vaccinated. Booster coverage is 63,574.

If anyone is displaying any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 or needs any additional information, they are asked to contact the COVID-19 Hotline 231-1166, 226-7480 or 624-6674 immediately or visit www.health.gov.gy.

Global figures show that almost 516.9 million people have tested positive for the virus and 6.2 million have died. In the Americas, more than 154.2 million confirmed cases have been reported with over 2.7 million deaths.