GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday March 12, 2020 – Guyana’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has also turned out to be the first death in the Caribbean related to the disease.
The Public Health Ministry confirmed that the 52-year-old woman who died at Georgetown Public Hospital yesterday, did have the virus which is now responsible for more than 4,300 deaths across the globe.
The middle-aged woman had arrived in Guyana from the United States on March 5 and was taken to the hospital on Tuesday with severe respiratory illness.
She died yesterday morning, several hours before the COVID-19 test results had returned. Other examinations carried out by the doctor before the patient died showed she had uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension case.
President David Granger, who made the announcement last night, has assured measures are being taken to prevent the risk of community spread. A health team has been dispatched to the home of the deceased for assessment and initiation of public health prevention measures; all possibly exposed persons are being identified and traced; and Ministry officials will meet with hospital workers.
He has advised that public gatherings and non-essential travel be discouraged. This will be in addition to continued screening of persons travelling from Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, French Guiana, Panama, St Vincent, the US China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Iran.
The Head of State also called on the public to refrain from panic.
“I use this opportunity to appeal to the public to remain calm and to implement all the advisories relating to personal hygiene, social distancing and overall infection prevention and control,” he said.
President Granger said that, to date, there are three designated quarantine facilities but more will be added. The Minstry has also developed its local capacity to test for the COVID-19.
The latest figures published by the World Health Organization yesterday, put the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 118,322. There were 4,292 deaths at that time.
Most of the cases and deaths were in China where the virus originated – 80,955 confirmed cases and 3,162 deaths.
COVID-19 cases have also been recorded in Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.