WITH a spike in COVID-19 positive cases in St. Cuthbert’s Mission, the Amerindian community has gone into a 14-day lockdown, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
The lockdown began on November 7, 2020, after several teachers and healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19. The community began testing residents on November 1, 2020 when one member who travelled out of the community was tested positive for the virus.
Toshao Beverly Clenkian told the Guyana Chronicle, on Thursday, that the community has recorded 168 positive cases since November 1.
With a population of just over 1,500 people, the toshao believes it is imperative that action is taken now to protect residents and save lives.
Over the next 14 days, no one will be allowed in or out of the village, unless authorised by the relevant authorities. This and other measures will be implemented and supervised by regional authorities and the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
“Every day medical personnel are in the community to do rapid testing. We understand the effects of the COVID-19 virus and we expect that the residents would cooperate with the testing and follow the lockdown measures,” said Clenkian.
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony stated that the ministry is administering more tests in the community even as restrictions remain in place to curb transmission of COVID-19.
“St. Cuthbert’s has been challenging. We have spoken to the Village Council and we have been working with them. And they have been helping by talking to residents. It is quite a large village and spread over a large territory,” stated the Health Minister.
He also noted that a medical team has been deployed to the community, which is on the ground conducting rapid testing. The team will remain in the village for the duration of the lock down.
Minister Anthony said the cases can be controlled, but warned that, for this to happen, residents must follow the COVID-19 preventative measures such as self-isolation, reduction of social activity and practise social distancing.
AVOID GOING OUT
“Sometimes trying to monitor everybody can pose a challenge… we have been deterring residents from going out, continued to do testing, and as of today, we have had 168 persons who are positive and as we do more testing I expect those numbers would go up,” he said.
The Health Minister added: “We have to get people to self-isolate; we have to get people to reduce their social activity within St Cuthbert’s and, I guess, once we are able to accomplish some level of social distancing and people stay at home, we would be able to control the spread.”
The minister highlighted that the main entrance and exit in the community are being monitored and residents are being deterred from going out.
The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) has been assisting residents by providing hampers with essential items.
The lockdown is being enforced by the police and the CDC with support from the Village Council and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.
Meanwhile, infections at Kwebanna, Barima-Waini (Region One) continue to stabilise, with active cases now down to 37 from an initial 62 infections. Kwebanna had gone into two weeks of lockdown beginning on October 24, 2020.
Minister Anthony noted that residents in Kwebanna and nearby communities have been co-operating with the medical teams on the ground and they are seeing positive results.
“I think the measures we have put in place in Kwebanna have been working and that is why we have gotten a reduction of cases. Those numbers have gone down again, and I think once we remain vigilant, once the community remains vigilant, that we would see those numbers decreasing even further,” Dr. Anthony said.
Minister Anthony further added that the Village Council was working closely with the ministry and this should lead to a further reduction in cases.