Sunday, July 21, 2024

San Pedro active COVID-19 cases near 200; vaccination rates increase on the island

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The number of infected persons with COVID-19 across Belize continues to increase. In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, as of Friday, October 8th, 187 active cases have been reported by medical personnel from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II. Two islanders remain hospitalized in Belize City, and health authorities say that in the first seven days of this month, three San Pedranos died with COVID-19. However, the vaccination campaign shows promising results with a positive increase in islanders getting their first and second doses of the vaccine against the virus.

According to Dr. Joshua A. Canul, the increase in active cases has been trending since August. In August, there were 162 infections reported, followed by 233 in September, and in just the first week of October, 93 have been confirmed. This steady increase is registered in the COVID-19 reports issued daily from the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Of the current 187 active cases on the island, about 90% are locals, while the rest are tourists. Dr. Canul said that a third wave reportedly affects the country, and the Delta variant is the culprit for the rapid spike in cases.

It is suspected that far more people are infected but are not getting tested and choose to weather the illness at home. These persons are hazardous to the health safety of others as they can spread the virus. If anyone feels sick and suspects are infected, get tested. The Mar de Tumbo flu clinic is open Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to noon.

The COVID-related deaths from the island were in persons above the age of 50 and suffered from underlying conditions. According to Dr. Canul, one was fully vaccinated, the other person had taken his first dose of the vaccine, and the third patient was unvaccinated.

Vaccination numbers increasing on the island
Ambergris Caye is reportedly leading in the vaccination program compared to other municipalities across Belize. To protect the tourism industry and abide by the regulations, more islanders are visiting the vaccination centers (Lions Den, San Pedro High School) to get the injection. The current vaccines available include Pfizer for children ages 12 to 16 and for persons 18 and above AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (Janseen), and Sinopharm. As of Friday, more than 11,000 persons, including children, have received their first dose, with over 7,000 now fully vaccinated in Ambergris Caye. The vaccination rates in Caye Caulker are reportedly high; however, exact details were not available. Booster vaccinations have not been confirmed for Belize, but the government is discussing the matter.

Persons hesitant are encouraged to get immunized. The vaccine does not prevent someone from getting ill with COVID-19, but it gives the necessary boost to that person’s immune system to combat the virus. While fully vaccinated patients can perish, most of these fatalities are patients with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, HIV, cancer, and other underlying conditions. Obesity has also been a common factor in persons getting severely ill and, unfortunately, losing the battle against COVID.

Vaccination alone is not enough, and the public is encouraged to continue following the required health protocols. Practice proper hand hygiene, social distancing, wear masks in public areas, and not participate in social events.

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