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COVID cases remain under 2,000; MOHW optimistic about turnaround

The number of active COVID-19 cases is over two thousand. The Ministry of Health and Wellness reports that between Friday and today, there were 270 new cases of COVID-19. This means that active cases stand at 1,910. Most of the weekend’s new infections were reported in the Belize District, which had 100. 69 of those cases were in Belize City, 11 in Ladyville and 5 in Lord’s Bank. Cayo reported 75 new infections, 19 of which were in Belmopan and 16 in San Ignacio.  Director of Health and Wellness, Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa conceded that while there is continued transmission, those numbers are expected to drop.

Dr.Melissa Diaz Musa, Director of Public Health and Wellness: “The numbers continue to go up as is expected with especially a variant like Omicron which we know is extremely more transmissible than the original variant and of course we don’t have have a lot of public health measures in place at this point and people basically are not feeling as unwell as they did with Delta and with the original  variant. All these things are factors that impact what we do, how we move about, whether we ensure that we utilize our mask, whether we utilize we are vaccinated all these things play a part in that and I believe that that’s the main issue at this point. When you look at Omicron though we also need to monitor hospitalizations and we know that our hospitalizations are quite low and we also know that the case fatality rate has been reduced significantly which means that the number of people directly as a result of COVID compared to the number who have covid is very low. So with all of this we look at making recommendations depending on how COVID is affecting our population. Now having said that it’s very important that any infectious disease is controlled because we don’t only look at mortality rate we look at how it affects our economy, how it affects your personally. We don’t know as yet the long term effects of covid even if you are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic research is still ongoing with that so the Ministry of Health and Wellness we strongly recommend that you continue with your measures, you continue to protect your vulnerable population, ensure that especially the elderly people with comorbidities continue to be protected. If you are sick whether you think that it’s because of some other reasons still take precaution because we don’t want any sort of even if it’s upper respiratory tract infection, a flu, we don’t want that to be spreading either so it’s important to still keep in mind what we need to do to reduce the spread.”

Minister Kevin Bernard also weighed in on the current situation, citing his optimism for the country to reach herd immunity and generally about what the future holds.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “Over the few months our ministry of health, our vaccination team have been on the ground getting people encouraging people to get vaccinated. We have now gotten the pediatric Pfizer vaccines so we’re encouraging parents and families to encourage to come out and get their young ones vaccinated. We are still optimistic that by September 2022 we will be able to achieve our targeted goal of 70% inoculation by the end of September 2022 and so we’re hoping and encouraging people to take advantage. Vaccination sites are announced all over the country, at schools, at the hospitals. We want to encourage our people to get vaccinated. For those who are still hesitant there’s a lot of information on the benefits of the vaccine. While our COVID numbers we’ve seen a spike, we know that there will be an increase in numbers but there’s also start to see a sharp decline in the numbers going down in the latter part of this month and into mid July you should see us returning to pre omicron levels and that will then be able to allow us to look at. Now the benefits of what we’re seeing however is that there has been minimal hospitalizations, there have been no real death reported based on recent cases and for those who had passed are people who have really serious conditions.”

Hospitalisations stand at seven and there are no new fatalities; however, the death toll is at 678.