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Jan 7, 2021

Rapid COVID-19 Drive Restarted Across the Country

Sixty-one thousand, five hundred and eleven COVID-19 tests have been conducted as of today. Eleven thousand, one hundred and fifty-two cases have been confirmed with two hundred and sixty-seven deaths, this includes the additional seven deaths which were reported today.  Five hundred and forty-one cases remain active.  The Ministry of Health and Wellness has ramped up testing to control the spread of the deadly disease.  One way the ministry is doing so is by restarting its COVID-19 test drives across the country.  Today’s rapid test drive was held in the Belize River Valley Area, and News Five’s Hipolito Novelo met it at Burrell Boom Village.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has embarked in a series of countrywide rapid test drives. The purpose is to test as much persons as possible for the novel coronavirus. And the Ministry’s testing capabilities has recently been enhanced with a donation from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO and the World Health Organization. More than ninety thousand antigen tests with antigen controls and rapid diagnostic test analyzers were donated.

 

Melissa Diaz

Dr. Melissa Diaz, Acting Director of Health Services

“We did get a much needed donations with regards to the rapid tests and in fact we got over eighty thousand rapid test donated to us. Two different sets but much needed. It is the same SD biosensor that we have been using and we have a plan for the next few months to roll out a lot more rapid test drives all over the country. So we are no longer waiting for people to come to the flu clinics or come to the hospitals but we are actually going out into villages and into towns and even nearby n the urban setting and advertising these rapid test drives.”

 

The rapid tests drives continued today in the Belize River Valley area and we caught up with the mobile clinic at the Dorothy Bradley Health Center in Burrell Boom Village. There we met sixty four year old Edmond Humphreys. He says even though he is strong as an ox he still felt it was necessary to get tested.

 

Edmond Humphreys

Edmond Humphreys, Burrell Boom Resident

“And I still feel strong. With all my age, I still feel strong. I love it because it is my place, it is Burrell Boom. I born and grow there. I love everything.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“How did you find the testing? How was the experience?”

 

Edmond Humphreys

“It kind of burn in my nose that’s all. But everything is good.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“So the test results were negative?”

 

Edmond Humphreys

“Negative.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Do you have any underlying conditions?”

 

Edmond Humphreys

“I don’t have any pain. Nothing, yet.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“So you will stay safe?”

 

Edmond Humphreys

“I think so.”

 

Humphreys was one of a handful of Burrell Boom Villagers who got tested today. They needed to meet two basic requirements in order to be tested: show symptoms within the past the seven days such as fever, sore throat, and loss of taste and smell, and have a close contact to a confirmed case.

 

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“And if you do have symptoms, you believe you are a close contact to somebody who is positive please go out and get tested. It is very important to know the status and once you know if you are positive, isolate immediately. Start your symptomatic treatment as soon as possible and protect your vulnerable at home.”

 

The process is quite simple and fast. I took a rapid test while in Burrell Boom. The first step is to provide information to the health officials including your name and number. Then the officer hands you an already prepared nasopharyngeal swabs. These particular type of swabs are more sensitive and the Ministry has thousands of it. Thanks to PAHO, the Central Lab has thirty thousand nasopharyngeal swabs which were donated to support the molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Belize.

 

The nasopharyngeal swabs are a crucial component for detecting and diagnosing COVID-19. With this donation, the ability to continue molecular testing capabilities at Central Medical Lab will be enhanced. Acting Director of Health Services Doctor Melissa Diaz is hopeful that the public heed the ministry’s call and get tested.

 

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“We know that the recommendations from WHO, PAHO and worldwide is to tests and do as many tests as you can. The more persons that we test the more we will be able to contain this spread because if you are feeling well and you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms you may very well go out there and expose five persons each time you go out and go shopping etcetera. If you do feel you have even mild symptoms or you have been exposed and you go and get tested and you are positive you do know then that you will immediately isolated. SO we don’t have that process of waiting days at home for the PCR test, the uncertainty of not knowing whether you are positive or not or you might go out earlier because you feel much better. Whereas the rapid test we are aiming for it to be a one stop shop.”

 

The mobile clinic will be in the villages of Rhaburn Ridge, Grace Bank, Maypen, Biscayne, Sandhill and Maskall on Friday. It will then be held in Belize City at the Central Health Region on Saturday. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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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