The mapping exercise for Belize’s patient number three concluded today. The 38-year-old man who resides in Belize City was tested positive on Sunday. Love News understands that the man arrived in Belize on March 20 on a Delta flight from New York with a connection in Atlanta. While the patient was not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 he went into self-isolation since he knew that the area, he was coming from was severely impacted. Whenever a person tests positive for COVID-19, a rigorous mapping process is conducted which is geared at revealing the social interactions the patient has had in the 14 days prior to being tested. The mapping process for the three COVID-19 patients have already concluded and those persons who came in close contact with the patients are being monitored. According to the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero, multiple interviews and swabbing have been done during the mapping.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “I just have the initial report, it has been completed, it was sent to me but I haven’t had time to check email but the regional manager from Central Health Region has indicated that process has been completed so that means that everybody who has been in potential contact has been at least interviewed you go through that process and whoever needs to be swabbed will be swabbed.”
Reporter: How do you determine who needs to be swabbed ?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Based on the level of contact. No mapping exercise I think is easier, you would have to rely on elements of patients being able to be truthful all across the interviews and interviewing others who may have been in contact with him to see if those two stories match. Everybody will be different, not that it’s more difficult. Any mapping exercise will be difficult and you will rely on many other factors not just being able to conduct an interview with the index case but with any other potential contact. You could be in constant contact with somebody and nothing happens or you could have minor contact with somebody else and something happens; it’s not an easy one plus one equals two kind of situation so that’s why every person who is deemed to be in contact that could have caused a potential spread is asked to be in self quarantine until we have determined what’s going to happen in that regard. All of the patients when I checked with the person who communicates with them had indicated they have minor signs and symptoms with no specific treatment. Every patient will be different, fortunately for now at least these three patients seem to be doing very well when you compare it to what you’re seeing elsewhere.”
Since Belize began monitoring the COVID-19 situation and began taking precautionary measures, there have been an estimated five hundred persons who have been placed under self-quarantine. This measure is usually taken when a person may have been exposed either by coming into Belize from a country affected by COVID-19 or when they suspect they may have been exposed to the virus via human contact. The problem being faced currently, however, is two-fold. In the first instance, several of those persons are not adhering to the rules of self-quarantine; in the second instance, police are not equipped with a list of those persons and therefore the monitoring process is skewed. Police Commissioner spoke on this issue with our newsroom.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “There is this issue about doctor – client relationship which I do not believe exists in a time like this because how is it that we are going to monitor who is supposed to be self quarantined if we don’t have the list of who is self quarantining. There needs to be that communication between us that we know who these people are so that we can monitor and investigate when they’re violating the quarantine requirements and so myself and the good doctor we are working on that together and we believe that very shortly we will be where we want to be. We have known about some and those that we know about we’re working on them and there are two cases in particular that we’re following that we believe we may make arrests in very shortly.”