Caribbean Countries Register Deaths From COVID-19; Guyana Worried About Delta Strain

(CMC) — Several Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have reported deaths linked to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the past 24 hours, while Guyana Tuesday feared that the Delta variant is behind a surge in cases.

Barbados recorded one death when a 44-year-old man died after spending 17 days in primary isolation. The authorities said he had underlying conditions and was unvaccinated. His death brings to 50, the number of people who have succumbed to the virus.

They also reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 including 21 females, and that among the new cases were nine people under the age of 16 years. There are currently 292 people in isolation.

Since March last year, confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 4,968.

St Lucia recorded 44 new cases and the death toll climbed to 72 when a 50-year-old female from the Babonneau district, north of here, died from the virus.

The number of active cases in St Lucia to date is 1974, with four of these active cases being in critical care at the Respiratory Hospital.

In Suriname, the health authorities in the Dutch-speaking Caricom country said that three deaths pushed the total for the month to 69. So far, the country has recorded 718 deaths since the March last year.

The authorities said that in the past 24 hours, 127 new cases have been reported, with the total being 28,967 citizens since last year. The number of people in hospitals increased from 78 to 94, while the number of patients in intensive care units remained at 12, with 75 others declared cured, pushing the total to 24,246. There are 1,292 people in isolation.

Trinidad and Tobago recorded seven deaths over the past 24 hours, pushing its total to 1,285 with 125 new positive cases. The Ministry of Health said that the new cases have pushed the overall total to 44,606 with 4,432 being active.

There are 278 patients in hospitals, 135 in state sanctioned quarantine facilities and 3,932 in home isolation. The country has also recorded 38,889 recoveries.

In Guyana, the Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, said the country is experiencing a surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and is laying blame on the Delta variant.

He described the situation as “worrying” and warned that many more Guyanese may be hospitalised as a result.

Dr Anthony said in this regard, plans are being made to increase the capacity at the Infectious Diseases Hospital and other hospitals may also be converted to COVID-19 institutions.

“I want people to understand we are in a delta surge, we are going to see more cases unfortunately, more hospitalisations and more deaths; we can prevent these things from happening if we take precautions,” Dr Anthony told reporters during his daily COVID-19 update on Tuesday.

Guyana has not been able to definitively confirm the presence of variants since only 10 samples were ever sent for testing to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and Dr Anthony told reporters when questioned on the matter that “it doesn’t make much of a difference, all that would tell us is that we have Delta but nothing else”.

Meanwhile, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has launched an investigation into the death of former Chief Magistrate, Cecil Sullivan, who died at the hospital while waiting on a wheelchair.

In a statement, the hospital said that based on the accounts received from staff members and bystanders, it is apparent that Sullivan was brought to the hospital’s East Street triage area in “severe respiratory distress”.

“It was related that when he arrived at the triage facility, a security officer accompanied a relative of Sullivan went to the triage facility and alerted the medical staff. Upon examination, however, it was found that Sullivan was unresponsive; he was later pronounced dead,” the GPHC said, adding that it is “continuing investigations to ascertain what led to the death”.

But family members said that the former judicial official had tested positive for the virus last week and was taken to the hospital on Monday after he started feeling “weak”.