When we left you on Friday evening, the total number of active COVID-19 cases were over one thousand, with a significant number of new cases emerging from Belize City. There are two hundred eight new cases reported over the weekend and this number is partially offset by one hundred sixty-seven recoveries. Unfortunately three Belizeans have died, bringing the death toll to three hundred fifty-nine. Of the new cases, one hundred fourteen were in the Belize District, which includes sixty-four in Belize City and twenty-three in San Pedro. Another thirty-five were in Cayo, which includes another six each in Belmopan and San Ignacio Town. The Ministry also reports tonight that one thousand sixty-six active cases are in the land to go with four hundred sixty-four samples under investigation. Two dozen people are hospitalized including five in the ICU. And while the numbers are climbing nationwide, the Ministry is continuing of its vaccine drive. It kicked up a notch in the last couple of weeks because the jab is being made available to people between ages twelve and seventeen years old. Students in the south began receiving the Pfizer jab today. Senior Correspondent Paul Mahung was at Toledo Community College and filed the following report.
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: The rollout of the Pfizer vaccine began this morning in Punta Gorda. The first day began at TCC where administering the Pfizer vaccine to youths ages 12-17 was available. At the location Toledo Health Services’ Senior Health Public Inspector Deborah Mariano spoke to Love News.
Deborah Mariano, Senior Health Public Inspector, Toledo Health Services: “This Monday and Tuesday we’re doing the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine for the age groups 12-17 years old. Now even if you are not attending a high school and you fit that age group 12-17 you can access the vaccine at one of the high schools closest to you. We are not boxing out anybody out of this Pfizer vaccine. Why ? We want all our children to be free of COVID and to come back to face to face class. It’s very important that we take our vaccines so that we can protect ourselves and protect others especially the elders in our homes because we know from experience that the elders are not going out we the younger ones are the ones that are going out and then we come back with the disease and pass it on to the elders and they are the ones that are dying from this disease. So I advise all age groups 12-17 to come and get their vaccines. For those that live here in Punta Gorda you can access the vaccine today and tomorrow up to four right here at the Toledo Community College auditorium.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Two of the youths Ashad Guy of Punta Gorda and Analisa Choco of Santa Ana Village were happy to have taken the Pfizer vaccine.
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: Why did you take the vaccine ?
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: What would you want to say to to other youths who have not taken the vaccine yet ?
Ashad Guy, Student: “That you should go and take it and be safe.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: How are you feeling now that you’ve taken the vaccine ?
Ashad Guy, Student: “I was afraid at first but now I’m feeling good.”
Analisa Choco, Student: “I took the vaccine to prevent myself from coronavirus and it is good.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: So where do you live ?
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: What would you want to say to other youths like yourself ?
Analisa Choco, Student: “I want to encourage them to take the vaccine, it’s good for their health.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: And how do you feel now that you’ve taken the vaccine ?
Analisa Choco, Student: “I feel fine.”
Paul Mahung, Toledo Correspondent: The flow of youths who came to get the Pfizer vaccine accompanied by parents or guardians throughout the morning hours was steady.
Meanwhile, the Ministry says that those healthcare workers who became ill with COVID-19 at the San Ignacio Community Hospital last week are now medically cleared. The Ministry says that its surveillance and administrative teams continue to enhance all public health measures to ensure that the workplace is safe and also that the community feels safe when accessing services at that hospital. In the meantime, the public that key services will continue to be modified but open to the public according to the existing surge plan for COVID-19 in response to community transmission. Services at the Santa Elena Clinic has been fully restored. The San Antonio and Bullet Tree health centers will reopen by phases as the monitoring of daily COVID-19 numbers in these communities continues. The laboratory, pharmacy, and X-ray services are still available as needed in these communities.