Health system would be overwhelmed if COVID-19 surge persists- Ramsammy
Guyana currently has enough capacity to deal with the current surge of COVID-19 cases, especially those who are severely ill and require treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but Advisor to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, says that the local health system would not be able to cope with a sustained surge.
“There is a definite surge (in cases), so nobody should try to sugarcoat that and that has resulted from what I said before, that this virus is a much more serious virus that makes people sick faster,” Dr. Ramsammy said on Friday during an interview with the News Room.
Previously, he said that Guyana is experiencing a “third wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country seeing a rapid increase in infections.
At the end of Thursday, there were 24 people in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This is one of the highest number of people who have been in the ICU.
Dr. Ramsammy explained that COVID-19 results in a significant number of people, who become infected with the severe symptoms of the disease, being admitted to the ICU for treatment. These patients require ventilator support to help them breathe.
“ICU capacity in many countries, doesn’t matter which country, is not an unlimited capacity,” the Advisor said, adding: “If it is a regular hospital bed, we can go and pick up two or three and put it in a hospital room but ICU is not a regular room, it requires all kinds of equipment and you can’t put any doctor in an ICU.”
As such, he reasoned that if many more people become infected, there is a greater likelihood that some of those people will become affected with the severe forms of the disease. And, these people may become hospitalised.
There has been an increase in the number of people who have been infected with the severe forms of the virus, leading to an increase in the death toll.
At this point, Dr Ramsammy said the local health facilities are, therefore, “at capacity”.
According to him, it is possible to extend this capacity in the short term but it is more important for people to avoid becoming infected by adhering to the COVID-19 measures of washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining a social distance.
“It is a limited capacity and so we can’t be testing the system with our lives and that is what we are doing, we are testing the system with our lives,” Dr. Ramsammy emphasised.