BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 2, 2021– We have seen a spike in the number of Covid-19 infections in the Belize District since the start of the month of August and the Ministry of Health and Wellness has since confirmed that a rather rapid community spread of the deadly virus has been taking place in the District, specifically within Belize City, at this time.
According to Dr. Melissa Musa-Diaz, Deputy Regional Manager of the Central Health Region, infections have almost tripled since the start of this month, and the Health Ministry’s efforts to carry out contact tracing and isolate index cases and quarantine those exposed have been ineffective due to the accelerating increase in cases and clusters within businesses and in certain communities.
Dr. Melissa Musa-Diaz told local media that they are having difficulty in pinpointing exactly who the close contracts of newly infected persons are, since the widespread cases would indicate that a number of these persons possibly contracted the virus from locations outside the workplace.
It must be noted that the highly transmissible Delta variant has been identified in Belize and may be a driver of the increased infections being seen across the country. In Belize City alone, over the past two days, 113 new cases of Covid-19 were found. More than 20 persons infected with the virus are hospitalized, with 6 of them needing intensive care.
Businesses are now being asked to refrain from sending employees for testing at public clinics until the Ministry of Health and Wellness has carried out testing and contract tracing in instances where positive cases are found among their staff members.
This will hopefully give the Health Ministry better data on close contacts and enable them to pinpoint the communities in which the virus is moving so rapidly.
A release from the Ministry of Health and Wellness states, “effective September 1, 2021, work contacts will not be swabbed at any of the public health facilities unless information determined through contact tracing is sent by the Ministry of Health & Wellness contact tracing personnel. Employers and supervisors are asked to kindly avoid sending staff to be swabbed at the clinics, but rather to wait for MOHW to conduct a proper contact tracing exercise to determine who are the true close contacts to a positive case.”
The release also reminds the public that persons in households in which a member tests positive are all considered exposed and must quarantine themselves for 14 days. After that quarantine period has passed, they will be advised on when and where to pick up a clearance letter.
“MOHW also recommends that all businesses make arrangements for staff to work on a shift system and allow as many staff to work from home as possible,” the release states.
The ministry is urging business places to adhere to the Covid-19 health measures and to avoid breakfast and lunch groups, and refrain from having face-to-face meetings, and all social gatherings.