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Aug 11, 2020

A Positive Case of COVID-19 Detected on Caye Caulker

As the number of positive cases continues to spike on Ambergris Caye, on Monday night, Caye Caulker recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus. Travel to nearby San Pedro was constant prior to the lockdown so the spread of COVID-19 to Caye Caulker was predictable.  While the news was not unexpected, it has still sent shivers through the small community.  Today, News Five’s Duane Moody got a sense of the mood on the island.  Here is that story.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The confirmation of a case of COVID-19 on La Isla Cariñosa was not exactly a surprise to residents as the numbers in San Pedro continue to grow.  In fact prior to the lockdown of Ambergris Caye, islanders travelled back and forth between cayes via public and private transportation. But even as they hoped the precautionary measures would have kept the virus away, on Monday night, Caye Caulker recorded its first positive case.

 

Seleny Villanueva-Pott

Seleny Villanueva-Pott, Chairlady, Caye Caulker Village Council

“For us, on the island, we were expecting a positive case. We are located between both San Pedro—which we can consider one of the epicentres and we are so close to San Pedro—and Belize which is coming up with more cases. It is kinda inevitable that we have some cases coming up. So it was just a matter of time as commuting was still happening between San Pedro and here and is still happening between Belize City and here.”

 

This first positive case for Caye Caulker has no apparent link to any previously identified case for now and the Ministry of Health has commenced contact tracing of this COVID-19 patient.

 

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“It is an adult male. I don’t have any other particulars other than that. The team is doing their contact tracing, swabbing family members or whoever may be needed to be swabbed.  No apparent link; that’s what we got. But once we start doing contact tracing and try to identify where there could have been a potential situation. And so when we record that infographic it is very preliminary, it doesn’t have the details that people would want.”

 

Chairlady Seleny Villanueva-Pott says that Caye Caulker is a small community, but residents should not panic and simply adhere to the social distancing guidelines, hand washing and the use of facemasks.

 

Seleny Villanueva-Pott

“When the S.O.E. was lifted about maybe a month ago, people were in a different realm and everybody felt free. And slowly we’ve seen that, since cases started to pop up across the country of Belize, people have been slowly going back into their safety mode. Most people on the island are using masks, most are very cautious of the distance of six feet.  We’ve been doing a lot of sensitization in that and we keep telling people to make sure they wash and sanitize their hands as often as possible. We’ve seen the grocery stores and a lot of the stories implementing if not basins, hand sprays before entering the stories. So we’ve come a long way.   It’s like the saying goes, the virus does not spread on its own, the people spread it and once there is movement of people, the virus will come.”

 

Back in April, the council, with support from the Ministry of Health set up an isolation centre on the island.

 

Seleny Villanueva-Pott

“Our isolation area is still there; everything is still in order. If needs be and we have to take anybody in the area, we will. That hasn’t change at all. So it is just a matter of time before, God forbid that we need it; it is available for use.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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