Monitoring Covid patients at home giving govt headache

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…Ramsammy, Carpen say proper home isolation important to curbing the spread of the virus

Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy

While the month of October has reported 28 COVID-19 deaths in the first eight days, COVID-19 deaths from September are still trickling in with the number now as high 170 making it 20.6 percent of all COVID-19 deaths recorded in Guyana.

This occurs as Guyana’s home isolation cases have recently been at the highest to date, since the start of the pandemic. As of October 9, 2021, there were over 3,400 persons in home isolation.

It is from those in home isolation that the conditions of some can worsen, causing them to be institutionalized and — worst-case scenario– transferred to the COVID-19 hospital ICU where health workers will battle to bring them to recovery. As of October 9, there were 30 persons in the COVID-19 ICU.

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In the cases that the patient does not survive, this adds to the concerning figure of COVID-19 deaths in Guyana. Reaching out to Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the Village Voice News enquired about how the Ministry of Health is managing the numbers currently at over 3,000.

Dr. Ramsammy explained that the higher number of home isolation cases noticed is partially due to the ministry’s efforts to increase testing and contact tracing. “We’ve always been doing contact tracing but, in recent times, we are increasing contact tracing so that we could find more of the cases because some people are asymptomatic but they can still spread it. So, unless you go looking for them, you will never find them,” he said.
However, the Government does not and is not able to monitor all persons in home isolation. There is a collective effort between the Ministry of Health and local and international organisations which include telephone check-ins and in-person visits when possible.

Head of Medical Services at the GPHC, Dr. Mahendra Carpen told the newspaper that health authorities are aware that, for some persons, separating themselves from family members during home isolation is nearly impossible. Still, in all cases, he said that there is always something the individual can do to prevent the spread of the virus.

Head of Medical Services at the GPHC

“Many Guyanese homes are many people leaving in small spaces, so, isolation is really a challenge. But to the best of our ability, when persons are positive and they are home, what we try to advise is that they continue to wear their masks and minimise contact with other family members. If you have the luxury of an extra room that you can isolate that person in, that’s great; that’s what we would recommend,” Dr. Carpen said.

He also advised that positive persons use their own utensils, wash their clothes after those who are negative and sanitise the surfaces and items they have come into contact with that others may come into contact with too.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ramsammy said that, in most cases, it is ultimately up to the COVID-19 positive individuals and whether or not they choose to adhere to the guidelines that could be the decider of whether or not they pass on the virus.

He urged: “We are not going to be able to supervise every citizen that is in quarantine and every citizen that is in isolation every minute of the day…this is where civic responsibility becomes important as individuals and as families.” Carpen said that while institutional isolation or quarantine is an option for persons in home isolation, open access is not feasible because of the need to cater to individuals with life-threatening symptoms.

As of October 9, there were 169 persons in institutional isolation and 6 in institutional quarantine. For the year thus far, the number of COVID-19 related deaths per month are as follows: January – 13; February – 20; March – 36; April – 66; May – 98; June – 80; July – 68; August – 80; September – 170 and 28 deaths as of October 8, 2021.

Meanwhile, as of October 9, the total number of COVID-19 deaths stood at 825 with 162 new cases recorded.



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