Belize prepares for fourth Covid wave; KHMH senior staff weigh in on preparedness
Tuesday, January 4th, 2022
Belize is preparing for what is said to be the fourth wave of infections relating to COVID-19. The medical staff at the country’s main referral health center, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City, warn that although there are fewer admissions to their COVID-19 unit, the young and obese population are more at risk with the Omicron variant.
Although Omicron triggers mild symptoms, its transmission rate from person to person is very high. On Monday, January 4th, KHMH’s Chief Executive Officer Chandra Cansino said that the decrease in the number of persons admitted to the COVID-19 unit has allowed them to better prepare for the upcoming fourth wave. Up to Monday, there were only two patients in the Intense Care Unit (ICU) and 11 hospitalizations. Cansino explained that most of these persons are under investigation and not confirmed COVID-19 patients.
KHMH’s Chairman Andre Sosa added that throughout the past two years dealing with the pandemic, it provided the hospital’s personnel with the necessary experience. “We have seen that as the expertise improved and the equipment available became more abundant, we were able to get better outcomes,” said Sosa. Although some patients perished, a good amount of people recovered and were able to return home to their families. According to Sosa, the battle against the disease has been very challenging. In the beginning, they ran into issues with staffing and shortness of supplies.
Currently, the COVID-19 ICU has the capacity for 27 patients, but with the human resources available, the unit can best care for 18 patients. According to Sosa, a number of minors have been admitted to the and emphasized that younger people are also at risk, and there is a concern since face-to-face classes start next week.
The amount of cases on Ambergris Caye continues to rise, with 49 reported on Monday. Health officials on the island anticipate the number of infections to increase following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. During this period, several mass gatherings and parties reportedly took place, and COVID-19 health protocols were not observed.
The vaccination campaign continues on the island, and the flu clinic at Mar de Tumbo continues offering its services testing persons with symptoms Monday to Thursday 8AM-2PM and Friday 8-11:30AM. As a new COVID-19 variant is detected in Europe, the Belizean government is yet to implement any further restrictions on travelers and in the country.
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