Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2022. 10:05 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Should Belizeans begin to worry about another wave of COVID-19?
The recent numbers don’t look very good: 65 cases over the weekend, 54 on Tuesday, and 58 on Wednesday, with correspondingly low recovery numbers lifting the active case load to 285 as of Wednesday.
So far there has not been a corresponding spike in hospitalizations or deaths, but the Ministry of Health and Wellness is sufficiently concerned that it dispatched two of its most recognizable public faces, newly-appointed Director of Public Health and Wellness Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa along with her colleague Dr. Natalia Beer to meet the press virtually on Wednesday for a discussion.
And while the number of positive cases is seeing a steady increase, there are no discussions for enforcing any additional measures. According to Doctor Diaz-Musa, what the ministry is encouraging at this time is for Belizeans to take personal responsibility by practicing some of the measures learned over the past two years: “At this point with the numbers and the way we are seeing a slight increase, no we are not discussing additional measures as yet. We have always spoken about personal responsibility and community responsibility that we all have. So, the press release yesterday focused a lot on that, in order to encourage our population to be mindful that the pandemic is still here, people are still becoming unwell and we very much need to make sure that we continue with our public health measures and take that personal responsibility, especially so if you have someone in your home that is considered to be a vulnerable person, someone with a chronic disease, a pregnant woman, we have got to encourage people o protect each other and take our community responsibility as well.”
Dr. Diaz-Musa began by noting that in the first 19 weeks of 2022, some 2,400 cases and 76 deaths were attributed to COVID-19.
She continued, “Over the last two weeks so week 18 and week 19 we have seen a slight increase in numbers and looking at the, we monitor mainly the positivity rate and looking at the positivity rate from the 3rd of May to the 10th of May it has gradually increased from 2.04 to yesterday which was 5.43 and we know that the number of new cases that we’re seeing has also increased from averaging 10,12, 17 cases to yesterday with 54 new cases now the regions or the areas that we’ve seen an increase is the Belize district and the Cayo district.”
The Ministry will step up enhanced surveillance and education as well as testing. Dr Diaz-Musa noted: “…we are grateful that we have the tools that we need to tackle this virus and to control outbreaks early. We have access to the facilities, easy access to swabs, and we have access to the vaccines as well, so we have the tools that we need. to control and contain the virus and to ensure that our country remains in a healthy state.”
As to the use of masks, Drs Diaz-Musa and Beer noted that while most health professionals still use their masks, the general public is not required to use them unless, at their discretion, they are in an enclosed space and physical distance is not possible.
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