Home Community and Society COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths affecting the unvaccinated

COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths affecting the unvaccinated

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COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths affecting the unvaccinated
Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño

Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño said on Friday, August 20th, that those currently with severe infections, hospitalized, and dying are unvaccinated patients. The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) emphasized that the unvaccinated are the most vulnerable and add weight to the already overloaded healthcare system. Briceño implored Belizeans to support the vaccination campaign, cautioning that if cases continue to rise, the government may take drastic measures, such as declaring a lockdown.

Prime Minister Briceño said that based on medical data, when an unvaccinated person contracts and survives COVID-19, often their life is never the same. “Think about your family, your friends, help protect them, and get vaccinated,” he stressed. Briceño said that his government would ensure there are enough doses available for every Belizean. Besides the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines administered in Belize, the country now counts with the Pfizer vaccine, thanks to a donation from the United States of America. This vaccine will be dispensed to the younger population and include persons (students) ages 12 to 17.  The urgency is to vaccinate as many people as possible to safeguard the nation and ultimately prevent people from being hospitalized or even dying.

As the country experiences the third wave of infections, with different strains detected like Delta, the total number of cases presently stands at almost 900 countrywide, with a concerning spike in Belize City. The Prime Minister announced that a new set of regulations are soon coming into effect, and most of these new rules will apply to Belize City. One of these includes the banning of in-house dining at restaurants. Briceño warned that if the situation does not improve in the city, believed to be influenced by people not adhering to the health safety protocols and others not vaccinated – Belize City could be facing a lockdown.

Honourable Michel Chebat

Doctors staffing the intense care unit (ICU) at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City shared that most of the current COVID-19 patients hospitalized and on ventilators are unvaccinated individuals. At this time, 17 patients are hospitalized at the KHMH, and four are in ICU. One more death was reported on Friday, taking the countrywide toll up 351 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

MOHW’s minister, the Honourable Michel Chebat, said that there are limited beds available, and when hospitals, in this case, KHMH, are overburdened with COVID-19 patients, it takes away from essential services. “We have to stop giving the other medical services because the other wards have to be incorporated to attend the patients with COVID. It is a burden on our health system,” said Chebat. As head of the vaccination campaign, Chebat appealed to the Belizean public to come out and get vaccinated.

Ambergris Caye, which was an epicenter of the pandemic at one time in the past, has also seen its number of infections on the rise. Five new cases were reported on Friday, August 20th, and for the past weeks, the numbers have been fluctuating between 30 and nearing 50 persons confirmed positive. Some islanders have been hospitalized; some have passed away. According to reports from within medical personnel, these emergencies and fatalities are unvaccinated island residents.

The vaccine is deemed the safest way to combat the disease. On Ambergris Caye, the vaccine can be obtained free at the San Pedro Lions Den from Monday to Friday. Monday to Thursday, the schedule is 1-3:30PM and Fridays 8AM to 2PM.

The usual health measures protocols remain in place. People must wear a face mask when in a public place, wash hands, observe social distance of six feet apart and comply with the 9PM curfew.

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