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Feb 26, 2020

Health Regions Prepare Isolation Areas in the Event of COVID-19

The number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise and in this region, Brazil is reporting its first case.  In its latest advisory, the Ministry of Health reports that the novel coronavirus has now spread to thirty-four countries outside of mainland China. Even though the number of deaths caused by the virus is less than one percent, there is still growing concern.  There have been many false alarms in Belize and new studies are showing that persons may be carrying the virus without exhibiting the symptoms.  For weeks, persons entering Belize after having travelled to places with confirmed cases, are first screened and allowed to enter after test results return negative for the virus. But with this new information on infections, the Ministry of Health is shifting its strategy.  Health regions across the country are being asked to prepare isolation areas in health facilities in the case that the virus pops up. Doctor Russell Manzanero says that the studies help in understanding the virus and how to deal with it.


Russell Manzanero

Dr. Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health

“Studies have been happening since the very beginning. I mean we are trying to understand that nature of the disease—how it is transmitted, what’s the mode of how it is surviving, the incubation period, the severity of the cases. Like we mentioned before, in the past, we have been saying that there are specific populations that are the most affected. We have the very young and the very elderly. So those are the severe cases, but in regards to asymptomatic cases, those are the ones without symptoms, there are studies out there now that is showing how individuals that may not be showing symptoms can also be a source of infection. For us, that is why we are trying to push and heighten our surveillance with the screening and where those individuals are so that we can follow up with them because we do know that in these cases, they might be missed. You rightly say, those who might be passing, we don’t know about it. So for us, we do have their travel history. So we made a note of where they were staying so that we can follow up with them, with calls or somebody going out with them to ensure that they are not developing any kinds of symptoms.”

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