With rapid increase in cases, Dr. Anthony suspects Omicron is in Guyana

- Health Ministry to send COVID-19 samples to test for variant

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A total of 585 COVID-19 infections have been recorded over the past three days and with this rapid increase in cases, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said he suspects that the new Omicron variant is in Guyana.

But Dr Anthony added that it does not seem as though the variant is causing many more serious infections that require hospitalisations.

Previously, Dr. Anthony had attributed the noticeable increase in cases to the numerous social gatherings held over the holidays.

“There is an upward trend in these cases and again, we suspect that we might have the Omicron variant that is in circulation in Guyana,” Dr. Anthony said Monday during his COVID-19 update.

He explained that this variant is more transmissible, meaning that it is spread more easily from one person to another.

For context, on December 28- one week ago- there were 32 new infections recorded. While this could be that fewer people were getting tested over the Christmas holidays, the number of new daily infections in the days before were less than 50.

But by December 29, the numbers started to increase.

On that day, there were 87 new cases. Then, there were 157 cases on December 30, followed by 178 cases on December 31, a further 206 cases on January 1 and then 281 cases on January 2.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony said that there have been 98 new cases recorded but hastened to add that fewer tests were done.

And so he reasoned, “With the way that this has rapidly progressed over the last few days, we suspect that from an epidemiological point of view, we might have the Omicron that is in circulation here.”

To confirm the presence of the Omicron variant, the local health authorities would have to engage in a special type of scientific testing known as genomic sequencing.

Guyana does not have the capacity to do this testing as yet. As such, samples have been sent abroad previously.

The Health Minister says that the local health authorities are “looking” at sending more samples to test for the presence of the variant.

He also assured the population that the ministry has been working to build out hospital capacity to care for more people should they become ill with COVID-19.

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