About 87 people hospitalised daily with COVID-19 – Health Min.

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There is an average of 87 people locally who are impacted by the more severe effects of the disease, COVID-19, and require hospitalisation, according to Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.

People who experience the serious and severe effects of COVID-19 would be hospitalised so that they can receive the treatment needed to help them recover. The more seriously ill patients, including those who have difficulties breathing on their own, would be admitted to the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

During his daily COVID-19 update on Friday, the Health Minister provided the average number of people who have been hospitalised for this year so far.

In the month of January, there were approximately 18 individuals hospitalised each day; in February, the average was 23 people, while in March, the average rose to 38 individuals hospitalised daily.

In the months of April and May, and so far for the month of June, the number of people hospitalised rose significantly.

In April, an average of 66 people were hospitalised daily, while in May, an average of 87 people were hospitalised each day. For June, thus far, a total of 87 people have been hospitalised, on average, each day.

The Health Minister clarified that these figures are drawn after considering the highest and lowest number of people hospitalised for a given day each month, and may not necessarily reflect the day-to-day numbers.

In fact, he said that on Friday, there were 73 people hospitalised though the average for June is about 87 individuals per day. Of that 73 patients, he said that 18 of them are in the COVID-19 ICU.

As he spoke about the hospitalisation of patients, the minister explained that the new ‘Delta’ variant, a strain of the coronavirus that recently originated in India, has been causing some concern worldwide due to its greater transmissibility. This transmissibility means that the virus can be spread much faster from person to person.

“This particular variant has nine mutations on the spike protein and because of where the mutations occur, this particular variant is more transmissible and is twice as transmissible than the ‘Alpha’ variant,” the Health Minister said.

The Alpha variant was the first identified variant of concern that originated in the United Kingdom (UK), last year. Research has found that this variant is twice more transmissible than the original strain of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in 2019.

To date, Guyana has not been able to ascertain whether there are any variants of concern here due to a lack of in-country testing capacity. In May, however, Advisor on emerging viral diseases at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Jairo Mendez-Rico, indicated that the P.1 variant of the virus is present in Guyana.

This P1 variant originated in Brazil and has now been renamed the ‘Gamma’ variant.

Though Guyana has been unable to identify whether these variants are present here, Dr. Anthony said that it is still a possibility though there is no scientific evidence to confirm this.

Still, Dr. Anthony, on Friday, said that maintaining the COVID-19 protocols- such as wearing a mask, maintaining a social distance, and getting vaccinated- would help to protect from the increasing harm of any of the variants.

He also noted that the standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that has been used to test for COVID-19 can still be used to identify these variants.

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