BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020– In an interview with local media on October 9, 2020, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, the Director of Health Services (DHS), said, “I think now is when we are having the real wave.”
The DHS said that the projected numbers over the next few weeks will be much higher than what was seen from July to mid-August when the number of cases started to increase.
He said that this would take a re-strategizing, not only by the Ministry of Health, but especially by a lax public who have not been taking the prevention regulations and protocols seriously.
Dr. Manzanero said, “As harsh as it may seem, more people are going to die, and that’s simply where we are headed, because I don’t know that we have really zoned in on the message.”
By “we,” the DHS means the many Belizean citizens who are still putting themselves and others at risk by not adhering to the regulations enacted by the Government of Belize.
The Ministry of Health has been actively working to prevent morbidity, mortality, and the overwhelming of the healthcare system; however, as said in an update given by the DHS, the increasing number of cases of infection will inevitably result in increased hospitalization, something the Ministry is trying to avoid.
The COVID-19 death toll currently stands at 40 as of October 14; the most recent of those deaths being reported in the infographic released on that day. That fortieth fatality was of a man from the Northern Health Region who was referred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after displaying deteriorating respiratory function. He was unstable for a couple of days and eventually succumbed to his symptoms.
On the previous day, October 13, a death had also been recorded – that of a female in her 40’s who displayed only minor symptoms. She died suddenly after being taken to the Corozal Community Hospital.
A prior death was of a man suffering from chronic kidney disease; he had been receiving dialysis, but died in the early hours on Tuesday.
On Sunday, October 11, a woman in her late 60’s from Orange Walk died from COVID-19 complications while at the KHMH’s Intensive Care Unit.
On October 10, a man, also in his 60’s, died upon arrival at the KHMH. It is said that he had no interaction with the health facility’s staff of doctors and nurses, but was diagnosed during a post-mortem.
A female person in her 40’s, who was infected with COVID-19, also died on October 9. That person is reported to have had underlying health conditions and was identified as a positive case on October 8; she died shortly after.
As of October 14, 2020, 2,619 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within the country; of those, 983 or 37.5% remain active. A total of 1,596 people have recovered, and 40 deaths are recorded.
The infographic on that day shows that 18,254 COVID-19 tests have been conducted since the start of our response, with 588 currently under investigation. On that day, 248 samples were processed and 34 new cases were found. Sixteen persons were recorded as recovered, and two patients were reported to be intubated at the KHMH.
In the Orange Walk District, 16 new cases were discovered; there was 1 in Toledo, and 5 in Belize District, and the Stann Creek and Corozal Districts each had six new cases.
On October 13, 16 new cases were identified from a batch of 160 samples. Fifteen were found in Toledo and 1 in Stann Creek. Fourteen recoveries were recorded on that day.
On the 12th of October, 38 cases were found in 173 samples that were processed. In Cayo, 14 were found, 10 in Corozal, 11 in Belize District, 2 in Orange Walk, and 1 in Stann Creek. Eighteen recoveries were reported on that day.
A total of 163 samples were processed on October 11. Among these, 35 new cases were found — 2 in the Cayo district, 19 in Corozal, and 14 in Belize District. Seventeen cases were reported as recovered on that day.
On October 10, 428 samples were processed and 69 cases were identified. Forty-four cases were reported to have recovered on that day. Of the new cases that were identified, 2 were in Corozal, 29 in Orange Walk, 17 in the Belize District, 12 in Cayo, 3 in Stann Creek, and 6 in Toledo.
On October 9, of the 260 samples processed, 54 new cases were found. Six were identified in the Orange Walk, Belize, and Stann Creek Districts, 34 were found in Corozal on that day, and Cayo recorded 2 cases.
Of note, data released from the Office of the DHS shows that 186 front-line workers have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in Belize. To date, a total of 60 police officers and 58 Belize Defence Force soldiers have been recorded as positive cases.
Five Coast Guard officers and 5 other law enforcement personnel have also been infected.
On the healthcare front, 12 doctors, 16 nurses, and 10 hospital workers have been infected to date. Seven health inspectors and 13 other healthcare workers are also reported as positive cases.
Other security officials such as guards at the Belize Central Prison have also been infected, and now, more infections are starting to show up in inmates. Prisons are said to be especially vulnerable due to a super-spreading environment, and this has caused the Kolbe Foundation to institute a 21-day lockdown of the prison. This lockdown will commence on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
Recent data released by the Office of the DHS shows Belize mirroring the epidemic trends of larger CARICOM countries such as Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. The data shows that these countries have had similar numbers and growth in cases over the last 6 weeks.
A comparison of the fatality rates across CARICOM member states shows Belize to have the lowest fatality rate, currently at 1.5%. Barbados tops the list with a fatality rate of 3.8%.