Another case of Covid-19 was reported a few minutes before six o’clock this evening. According to the Ministry of Health, this case is A relative to the last four patients diagnosed yesterday in an Orange Walk community. Today’s case brings the total registered in Belize to forty-eight. The last five cases have been linked to an illegal crossing and are all members of one family. The initial contact tracing for these cases has concluded and the family stated that they had been across the border in the month of June due to a family emergency. According to the family, they have gotten several visits in recent weeks from a relative who lives on the Mexican side. Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero noted that this particular family was reported as being border jumpers.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “When we went back and reviewed the lab situation it seems that their viral load is toward the minimal stage which means they could have been exposed for a good amount of period and they are towards the end of any infection. Now that might be good for that clinical case but it become a nightmare for contact tracing because you don’t know how long since they were exposed and how many people they could have exposed others to I mean that’s the question that I think is coming up for us today. They have a link across the border that cluster would not be necessarily a community spread, can they cause a community spread that’s always going to be the case and that’s the scary part, all the people who have jumped the border not only for the last two to three weeks it’s the amount of people that are crossing the border and coming and interacting with Belizeans that’s the nightmare situation if you will.”
While many Belizeans have been clamoring for more details into the Covid -19 confirmed cases, Dr Manzanero explained that the issue of stigmatization is what keeps them from giving details into the diagnosed patients.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “People want to know all the specifics. What usually happens when you get a result usually on mid afternoon we have to go and verify with the lab, we have to go and find out where these people are, make the initial contact before we publish the information; we normally inform the people first that their results have been reactive for SARS COV-2 before we post anything on social media that’s one. Two, we are unable to publish everything because we don’t have all the details so providing preliminary data, sketchy data doesn’t really work – we don’t like to work with that we need to have verifiable data, say where they were, where are they from, when we suspect if they crossed the border, when they crossed the border and all the potential contacts because what we found is that if you provide preliminary data once you go back and do the interview process with them you kind of skew the response, you start to have lots of stigmatization happen and then people don’t want to cooperate. So once we finish our investigation contact tracing by the end of today maybe we’ll have more information as to that particular cluster. My understanding is they were reported as having crossed the border and that’s why they went to look for them. Right now I have to go and check because not it seems that police are rounding up people who are being reported and we have to be also careful in terms of that because it’s not only – you have to have some evidence that people have in point of fact crossed the border; again that’s a police matter if they bring them to us we will comply with what’s being requested from us.”
In addition to the new cases, the Ministry of Health has also reported three recovered patients and three patients who remain positive beyond the 14-day quarantine. Since March 20 when the first case was diagnosed Belize has had forty-eight confirmed cases; twenty-six recovered patients, two deaths and twenty current active cases of Covid-19.