It has been almost five days since Patient Zero was declared a COVID-19 patient. Earlier this week, the patient’s mother was also diagnosed with COVID-19. The two women are reportedly in self-isolation and are recovering nicely. According to Dr. Marvin Manzanero and Dr. Russel Manzanero, health personnel is still conducting mapping, screenings, and testings.
With the incubation period being listed as 14 days, health officials remain alert as there is the possibility that some of the persons who were in close contact with the two patients may begin displaying symptoms of the virus.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “I think if eventually it needs to go down that’s not a decision we will take, it’s a recommendation we can make if the quarantine measures that we have recommended and enacted from our end are not adhered to but if you look at the quarantine measures that we set in place that pretty much puts us in a distant kind of mode until we are able to ascertain whether we have any other cases that are potentially there. Understand that we really have isolated ourselves, I mean the Guatemalan border closed now for more than a week the Western Border, the border with Mexico closed tomorrow is a week, the airport closed on Monday; understand that if there is anything then it’s really brewing from either a Belizean that came back or was in contact with somewhere else so that’s the reason why the next seven to ten days in this first phase are going to be critical in terms of being able to identify any other case if that were to be the case.”
While the general information is that those who would be severely impacted or vulnerable to COVID-19 are elderly persons of those with underlying issues like diabetes, heart disease, and others, Dr. Russel Manzanero indicated today that young persons too need to be watchful.
Dr.Russell Manzanero, Director of Epidemiology Unit: “We do know that even though we’re getting some information that the higher risk groups are indeed the elderly that keeps changing and it’s very fluid so we’re trying to see that now there are other situations in which younger individuals they’re actually ending up in critical care. We do know of a case in the US where an individual who passed who was a teenager who passed away very healthy individual and how passed away. So we really want to stress that this is a measure that all of us should be taking when it comes to how we are going to enforce social distancing, self isolation. So when we’re talking about that it’s across the board for all age groups. So we are asking that everybody take into account these measures and they should be enforced at all levels.”
As we have been mentioning, there is no cure or treatment for COVID-19. It is a recently discovered strain of the coronavirus that does not have a vaccine. Today, however, drugs are being tested on actual patients in the US and other parts of the world. Today, Dr. Marvin Manzanero spoke of the drug which is ordinarily used for malaria.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “We were in discussions with a consultant yesterday from PAHO and – again even though it’s published elsewhere if it is done for the Belize context it will be done as an experimental drug and my desk would probably have to sign off on it because there’s no specific heavy evidence that suggests that it works and even if it is done it has to be done on a controlled environment so people should not be really having access to it. We did check who would have in country and the three suppliers that would routinely bring it did say that they don’t have in country they’re expecting it to come in but this should not be sold unless it has a prescription attached to it. If you notice it is the older generation may recall that it’s used primarily for malaria.”