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Aug 7, 2020

M.O.H. Adjusts Testing Strategies; Belize City is of Concern!

Lorna Perez

And as the number of cases increase – the Ministry of Health says that contact tracing and testing strategies are evolving. Tonight, we can tell you that the ministry is keeping an eye on Belize City as three patients were confirmed on Thursday night from the district but also that with a big population the risk of exposure is high. Here’ what the health experts shared on today’s episode of Ask the Experts:


Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer

“Based on the present data that we have, we will be changing our strategy somewhat. And this goes for the people in San Pedro. I know you are anxious and want to be tested. We will be looking at other potential areas. Belize City is a place of concern. Right now we have over one hundred people waiting to be screened. With the cases that came up there are so many more but the priority is shifting. We need to contain and look at other areas of potential exposures. So Belize City is our next area.”


Russell Manzanero

Dr. Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health

“It is one of the most populated areas in the country that once you start having the possibility of a community spread in such a large urban area is of great concern because there are so many contacts in such a small, dense area. So, that is why we are trying to enhance our surveillance in the area of Belize City. For now, those in San Pedro, as nurse mentioned, there is much anxiety about who wants to be swabbed and tested for COVID-19. We do understand there is much concern but given the ongoing transmission and so many individuals who are displaying symptoms, we want to be cautious about how we actually go around and test those individuals. For example, if you are talking about individuals who are in a home, we have been in discussions about who are to be swabbed from one specific household and we are not going to go and swab every member of that household. So, what we are looking at is to look at individuals who are displaying symptoms. So, that is one way we would actually swab that individual; individuals who are also with some kind of co morbidity which means if you are also a diabetic, hypertensive, or known chronic illness, then you will also be swabbed. Other individuals of high risk, such as if a person is pregnant and the elderly are also who will swab and so that is kind of the way we want to look at the swabbing now.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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