Guyana Records Fourth Death from COVID-19

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Osa Collins (photo courtesy of Stabroeknews.com)

Governments Urges Support for Health Care Workers

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA — Authorities in Guyana have confirmed that a fourth person has died after contracting the coronavirus.

While the Department of Public Information confirmed the fourth death, details have not yet been provided.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence yesterday identified the third victim as Osa Collins, a 78-year-old resident of New Amsterdam. She was among the 19 persons confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Collins, according to reports, died yesterday afternoon at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH).

In a press release, the Ministry of Health said, “The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Ministry of Public Health extend deep condolences to the family, relatives and friends of Ms Collins.”

Collins, according to reports, was considered an imported case as she had recently traveled from the United States of America.

Jermaine Ifill

On Tuesday Guyana recorded its second death from the COVID-19 virus. Jermaine Ifill, 38, died at an isolation facility after attempts by the medical team to resuscitate him failed. He had tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in the isolation facility’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after he developed breathing difficulties. Ifill was the Executive Director of the Reliance HealthCare, which has been closed since he began feeling ill, the Stabroek News reported.

According to relatives, Ifill got no response from the state hotline after reporting his symptoms and made several attempts to acquire a non-rebreather mask and an oxygen tank while in institutional isolation just prior to his death.

A non-rebreather mask enables the delivery of high concentrations of oxygen and is recommended for use in patients who are critically ill. The non-rebreather mask Ifill utilized was reportedly one for a child, according to the Stabroek News report.

Meanwhile, the Government condemns the stigmatization of healthcare workers in Guyana, saying that without them, Guyana’s line of defence is non-existent and all efforts at combating COVID-19 will be futile.

“I now wish to make an appeal to those who are bent on stigmatizing our health care workers, refusal of entry to public transportation, among others, to immediately put an end to this. You are certainly being irresponsible and weakening our line of response by your negative [actions]. In this moment of crisis, we need to work in concert and fight this war together. We need to give our overwhelming support to our health workforce, so health workers all across the ten regions,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence then addressed the health workers saying that the ministry appreciates their daily sacrifice and encouraged them to write their recommendations or concerns to the Regional Health Officers. She added that the staff of the GPH can submit theirs to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) George Lewis, while those working at private institution can submit theirs to the CEOs of their institutions and those officials can share those recommendations with the Medical Council.

The health ministry is also urging all Guyanese to continue practicing social distancing and thorough hand washing, among other measures to help in containing the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana.

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