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Dec 30, 2021

Health Experts Convinced Omicron is Here

Omicron has not been officially detected through sequencing in Belize; nevertheless, health experts believe it is here. Deputy Manager of the Central Health Region, Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa told News Five today that while the gene-sequencing won’t confirm the presence of omicron until after 2022 is ushered in, the change in characteristics or patterns that infected people are showing up with now clearly suggest omicron’s presence.  Musa shared that at one testing site on Tuesday, of the fifty-four persons who tested positive, about eighty percent of them had no symptoms and their infections were only picked up because of contact tracing that the ministry conducted. Compounded with that is the concern that mass infections can compromise the integrity of Belize’s health system.


Melissa Diaz-Musa

Dr. Melissa Musa, Deputy Manager, Central Health Region

“Definitely we have noticed a change in the pattern of the presentation of persons who test positive for COVID-19 and when we look at what is happening, and the quickness of what’s happening with the increased cases, we do believe clinically, epidemiologically, that we have Omicron in country. The gene-sequencing is ongoing and we are now waiting for a third batch. I think the results will be available early next week in order for us to confirm whether it is Omicron, but clinically we’re seeing a change in the patterns. As well, we’re seeing a change in the time that the symptoms begin, so the incubation period appears to be a little bit shorter than other variants and we noticed that symptoms for COVID-19 cases are a little bit milder than other variants prior and the main symptoms that people are presenting are nasal congestion, runny nose, headache, mild fever that lasts twenty-four to forty-eight hours and sometimes associated with muscle pains and muscle aches. That has been the consistent presentation so far.  The sheer number of cases that we’re seeing poses a significant concern for us in the health sector, not only because the numbers are growing exponentially, but also, we have to look at our health staff as well. Many places have already noticed ten, fifteen persons in their business places becoming positive. They’ve been forced to close their doors because there’s no staff to work. The same may occur with the health sector because as we get exposed and as more and more persons become ill, they’re at home isolating.”

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