ORANGE WALK, Mon. Aug. 10, 2020– Orange Walk has been at the center of the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Belize for some weeks now. As reported, the district is the location for a number of cases that continue to multiply due to the illegal crossing of the northern border as well as contraband transactions in which a number of the residents have been partaking.
One such example of this is case #55, a male whose origin of contraction of the virus was initially unknown until his wife later revealed to the Department of Health Services that he, too, had purchased contraband goods from a neighbor in Santa Martha village.
During the mapping process, it was also disclosed that patient #55 had made contact with several persons, including Mayor Kevin Bernard, at his office. The patient and his wife had also been working at the local market, selling wares to multiple residents.
Due to these developments, Mayor Bernard opted to lock down the Orange Walk market last week for sanitization, and also went on record in an interview with CTV3 to state that he, along with staff members of his office, were getting tested for the virus. His portion of the interview went as follows:
“I’m not going to hide anything from anybody, the fact that I reached out to the Ministry of Health — this individual that has contracted coronavirus did visit my office here on the 20th July and so we are making sure that people can understand and that we want to make sure we are safe.
“We want to make sure that our staff is safe, and so I made that request. In fact yesterday I was in communication with the public health officer along with her assistant so that we provided the names and contact reference for everybody that works in this office.
“Many of them may not have had direct contact, and the way my office is set up, that individual was more than 6 feet away from me, but was also wearing his mask on the 20th July. I think it was 14 days ago, but we felt it was important that we, too, pass that information on, because when I heard the name, I immediately got in contact with the Ministry of Health and gave them that vital information that this person was at my office, and so we have to make sure that we are also swabbed to get an ease of mind that we may not have … the virus as well.”
Since last week, the COVID-19 virus continues to increase in scattered areas of the Orange Walk District, and has also been linked to a case in Belmopan and to the third cluster of cases in San Pedro.
As for Mayor Bernard, however, his results returned negative on Thursday, August 6, 2020, and the results of the tests taken by his staff members were also negative.