Reg. 7 records 75 COVID-19 cases; Regional Chairman says number expected to rise
By Isanella Patoir
Unless the COVID-19 situation is controlled in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), the cases will continue to increase, says Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford.
The Region on July 28, 2020 recorded 75 confirmed COVID-19 cases and it is now one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the country.
The communities of Aranka, Bartica, Devil’s Hole and Arrau have all confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Bradford explained that gold miners from nearby mining areas in Arrau tested positive and not the residents.
“…because of how the information would come, you see when these guys go and do the testing, the sample is sent to Georgetown and then Georgetown would release that information to us of how many positives and negative so we are still awaiting more results and we definitely expect that those figures would jump,” Bradford said during a telephone interview with the News Room on Wednesday.
With limited resources and facilities coupled with the shortage of health officials, it is difficult to keep persons in quarantine who tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting their results, Bradford explained.
“Most of these areas we don’t have police stations or facilities, so that is proving to be another challenge for us.
“We are short on medical personnel also cause most of these communities if they have a health post, it’s just one or two community health worker, we are trying to cope,” Bradford said.
He said the situation is very scary at this point, especially if there are persons who present with COVID-19 complications and need additional medical care.
The News Room understands that aircraft are refusing to transport positive COVID-19 cases from the far flung areas.
“It is a very scary situation, we were the first Region to form a Regional Task Force to deal with COVID-19 and that was my fear because of the lack of facilities in those remote areas and the hardship with transportation, we cannot even fly out anybody because the aircraft won’t take any positive COVID-19 case, so we have to find ways and means now,” a worried Bradford said.
However, medical teams are being dispatched but it is not sufficient to rigorously tackle the virus.
Bradford said the regional authorities are hoping that residents adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and stay at home until they have their test results but it has been challenging.
“I only praying that they remain safe because the contamination would be rapid,” Bradford said.
He explained that there are additional challenges that are contributing to the spike in cases.
“There are a lot of reasons because of the widespread of the region and the difficulty in reaching certain areas and even when you do testing if you need to extract persons, that’s another challenge.”
Mining operations have been ceased in Aranka and surrounding areas after a number of cases were confirmed. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 Centre in Bartica should be completed by next week.
An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to treat COVID-19 patients will also be established at the Bartica Regional Hospital. The Bartica Community Centre was recently renovated to be used a quarantine facility.
A 34-year-old businessman who previously travelled to a mining community was recorded as the first COVID-19 death from Bartica and Roger Martindale, 54, died at the Bartica Hospital where he was admitted on July 21 and was recorded as the country’s 20th COVID-19 related death.