Sand Creek grappling with spike in ‘COVID’ cases; another lockdown in effect


By Vishani Ragobeer

Sand Creek, the South Rupununi village in Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) has been grappling with another spike in the number of people infected with the disease, COVID-19, and as such, the village council has imposed another lockdown.

Earlier this year, in March, the village recorded its first set of COVID-19 cases after a Brazilian couple, who were positive, illegally entered Guyana despite travel between the two countries prohibited.

These cases were among the first set of COVID-19 cases to be recorded in the South Rupununi, which had managed to remain COVID-free for an entire year. To mitigate against a potential spread of the disease in the south, the village underwent a community lockdown where non-essential travel was prohibited for two weeks.

Earlier this month, however, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 cases which, according to Deputy Toshao, Jude Isaacs, prompted another lockdown. These cases were recorded after students in the dormitory displayed symptoms of COVID-19.

During a telephone interview with the News Room on Tuesday, the Deputy Toshao said that the village had as many as 93 active cases, though many of the infected people were asymptomatic (not displaying any of the common symptoms) and were isolating in their homes.

Isaacs, who is also the village’s medex, noted that on Tuesday, 27 infected patients were discharged after they recovered from the infection but another five individuals tested positive. As of Tuesday, he reported that there were about 70 confirmed active cases.

Following the outbreak of cases, a 22-year-old teacher from Sand Creek, Marvalene Marco died on Sunday morning at the Lethem Hospital in Region Nine where she was admitted after testing positive for COVID-19

“… sad to say there is nothing much we could’ve done,” the Deputy Toshao and medex said.

According to Isaacs, the community has been grappling with the outbreak of cases and the nationwide flooding, which was first reported in Region Nine.

“We are trying out here, we have had the flood in the village that damaged the farms with the cassava that we the Amerindians depend on and people are still trying to make use of what is there from the flood to make little farine, cassava bread or whatever to live on,” the Deputy Toshao lamented.

Flooding in Sand Creek, South Central Rupununi (Photo: DPI/May 20, 2021)

Isaacs also indicated that the community’s health workers are not able to adequately respond to the needs of the community since they do not have fixed transportation. Contextually, Sand Creek is considered to be the largest indigenous community in South Rupununi with approximately 1,600 residents.

As such, he said that the provision of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) would help the health authorities tremendously.

Additionally, Isaacs said that residents did benefit from relief supplies from the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) and the Sustainable Wildlife Management group.

He, however, noted that those supplies are near depleted and with the village now in lockdown, additional support is necessary. He also said that clean drinking water is also needed since water supplies have been contaminated by the flooding and there have been a few cases of diarrhea and vomiting, especially in children aged zero to five years old.

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