BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 10, 2020– The Office of the Director of Health Services has announced that a total of 153 positive COVID-19 cases have been identified in Belize as of August 8, 2020. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been engaged in enhanced surveillance and contact tracing in an effort to locate and test persons who may have been exposed to any of the clusters found in San Pedro, Orange Walk and Corozal.
On Friday, a total of 214 samples were processed, and from that batch, a total of 32 positive cases were confirmed. Saturday’s testing revealed 7 new cases.
Currently, the majority of the cases are in the Belize District — 75 in total; this is due to two clusters on Ambergris Caye.
Other than the Belize District, the most cases are in Orange Walk and Corozal with 45 and 18 cases having been identified in those districts respectively.
The Cayo district has recorded 12 positive cases, while 2 cases have been found in Stann Creek and 1 in Toledo.
During an update on Saturday night, Dr. Manzanero, Director of Health Services (DHS), said that 2 of the new cases are linked to a construction site in San Pedro, where the majority of workers are from Orange Walk. The DHS confirmed that some persons linked to the construction site have still not come forward for testing.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed community transmission in Santa Martha village, which has now been placed under total lockdown, along with Ambergris Caye, Shipyard and Guinea Grass.
A case has also been identified in Yo Creek, linked to San Pedro, and another in August Pine Ridge. The Office of the DHS said that they expect to see more cases in San Pedro due to the extent of the spread on the island.
A few healthcare professionals and frontline workers in Belize have also become infected with the COVID-19 virus. The Director of Health Services reported, “We have now 4 police officers that have turned out to be positive, and what is a little interesting is that we now have 6 medical staff that are ill — 3 doctors, 1 pharmacist and 2 nurses.”
Those medical staff, we are told, did not become ill in the line of work.
Our first case of COVID-19 was identified in Belize on March 24. It has been 138 days since the start of the outbreak in Belize, and while the country had maintained low numbers for a considerable time, there was a huge and sudden spike of 97 cases in the past week.
According to the University of West Indies’ (UWI) George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, Belize now ranks #150 in terms of its cases-per-million-in-the-population rate, and #145 in terms of its testing rate, which can be compared to testing rates in Honduras and Guatemala, but is higher than the rate in Mexico. To date, a total of 32 positive cases have recovered in Belize.