Reg.1 COVID-19 deaths were elderly patients with underlying conditions


By Isanella Patoir

There has been an alarming spike in COVID-19 related deaths in the country and Region One (Barima-Waini) has contributed to the high number.

At the end of the first five months since the country recorded its first COVID-19 death on March 11, there were 20 deaths, but during the months of August, September and October the death toll tripled with a total of 94 deaths to date.

The majority of the patients died while receiving medical care.

Regional Health Officer Dr Steve Cheefoon told the News Room the patients who died in Region One were all elderly with underlying health conditions; he said the majority died at home and were tested positive for the virus after their death.

“Of the ten deaths recorded in the Region all of them are over 65 years and eight of them have been swabbed post mortem or died before arrival to the hospital.

“What we did is after you talk to the family and they say how the person died with the shortness of breath, we decided that since we have local transmission in the Region that those persons should be swabbed and that’s how we found more persons from those deaths,” Dr Cheefoon told the News Room during a telephone interview.

The first patient who died in the Region was 59-year-old Vincent Torres on May 22, 2020; he tested positive for COVID-19 after his death.

As of October 5, Region One recorded 486 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but Dr Cheefoon told the News Room that there are only 41 active cases in the Region.

“As is expected in any pandemic, you will have a new wave so that’s what we are experiencing now, we would have already had systems in place and we are managing our patients here. To date we have 41 active cases in the region and we are managing them,” Dr Cheefoon said.

The second wave of infection is being reported in Matarkai, Mabaruma and Moruca with certain hotspot areas such as Sebai, Arakaka, St Ann’s, Aruca and Kamwatta.

The Regional Health Officer further explained that the majority of the positive cases are asymptomatic. So far, over 1,600 tests have been done in the Region.

“We follow the protocols and we always contact Georgetown Hospital and they would guide us if we do anything different than is the norm.”

September was recorded as the deadliest month for COVID-19 with 41 deaths for the month. With just the first week into October, 12 deaths were recorded so far.


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