Nearly 100 COVID-19 related deaths, 2,164 active cases

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November 17 marked exactly one year since the first case of COVID-19 was discovered and reported. This first case was identified in Wuhan, China but over the last 364 days, has spread to just every continent and country. There are now more than 55.9 million cases and more than 1.3 million deaths recorded worldwide and countries are now beginning to experience a second wave of this virus. Belize is not exempt from COVID-19 and given our very small population, having nearly 100 reported deaths is becoming increasingly alarming. As of November 17, 2020, according to the Office of the Director of Health Services (DHS), there have been 96 recorded COVID-19 related deaths.
The November 11 report recorded the number of deaths at 75 and as such, there have been more than 20 deaths in less than one week. In one single day, on November 13, there were as many as 10 deaths recorded. The number of COVID-19 fatalities continue to increase and currently, our total case fatality rate stands at 1.95%. For the majority of the cases, it is older persons or persons with preexisting comorbidities who have died as a result but there are also younger persons who have died. Each of these deaths should exist as a reminder that this virus is spreading and can lead to significantly dire ends. It, however and unfortunately, seems that this message is not being resounded enough with persons still gathering and socializing.
With 2,164 active cases in the country, and this number increasing daily, the spread of COVID-19 remains a quite difficult reality. Orange Walk continues to see the highest numbers of the disease and of the 37 cases, which were identified on November 17, 11 cases were found in that district. Six were found in Orange Walk Town, two in Guinea Grass, and one each in San Jose Palmar, Chan Pine Ridge, and San Lazaro. The Belize District, which includes the numbers for San Pedro and Caye Caulker, is not too far behind. Nine new cases were found here, six in Belize City, two in San Pedro, and one from San Pedro swabbed in the city. Five new cases were found in Corozal, the district with the country’s third highest number of infections. Two were identified in Corozal Town, one each in Ranchito and Concepcion, and one from Orange Walk Town but swabbed in Corozal. Cayo now has the country’s fourth highest concentration of COVID-19 and as many as 11 new cases were identified in that district. Six were found in Belmopan, two each in Cotton Tree and Bullet Tree, and one in Esperanza. No new cases were found in the Stann Creek district, the district with the second lowest number of cases. The Toledo district has consistently reported the country’s lowest numbers and only one new case was identified in the district. This is from Independence which was swabbed in Punta Gorda.
There are now 2,660 recovered cases in the country, informing that 43.98% of our cases remain active. The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Office of the DHS reminds the population that prevention is key and to practice safe interaction. These include the proper and consistent use of a mask that cover your nose and mouth, physical distancing as much as possible, limiting interactions with persons as much as you can, and limiting exposure in public – in essence, keeping to online essential duties outside.