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Posted: Friday, August 7, 2020. 6:31 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: When the Ministry of Health updated the nation on the COVID-19 situation on Friday, July 31, the number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 48; a week later, Friday, August 8, the number of cases stands at 114, representing 137.5 percent increase. Following the surge in cases, the government of Belize has instituted a nationwide state of Emergency, with several areas in Orange Walk as well as the entirety of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on lock down. But how did it go this far?

August 1, just one day after the MOH said no new cases and the number stood at 48, eight new cases (a record number of cases at the time), emerged, bumping the total up to 56.Three of those cases were from San Pedro, two were from a repatriation flight coming in from the US and one was from a repatriation flight coming in from Honduras. There were 5 cases from the Northern Health Region: three of which were from Corozal Town, while two came in through the Mexican border entry point as part of the repatriation process.

Case #57 was detected in San Pedro on August 2, after the ministry followed up on what it described as a “highly suspect case.” That case was a female patient who denied having any travel history.

On August 4, a record breaking 15 positive cases emerged. Seven of the cases were identified in Corozal,  seven in Orange Walk, and one in San Pedro. Five of those cases were from the repatriation process while the others had varying descriptions, including links to previously detected cases.  The following day, August 5, the MOH identified 14 more cases prompting an emergency press conference by the Prime Minister and health authorities. 10 of the cases are related to the case identified on Sunday in San Pedro (some close contacts are still pending to be processed)  and one case was detected in Belmopan who was contacted by the patient hospitalized at the Northern Regional Hospital.

Director of health services Dr. Marvin Manzanero, explained at that time, that there was an event in San Pedro, the Grand Caribe Fishing Deep Sea Classic Tournament that was held from July 18-19, that played a major role in the up shoot in cases.

“If we are able to identify that then I think that we are going to have to classify that as a potential super spreader event that is the term we are going to use because one person that is how you can spread things across a country, across all geographic locations,” Manzanero said.

By August 6, the Ministry announced the highest amount of confirmed cases in a single day, 28 positive cases. From those cases,  one was discovered in San Ignacio (associated to illegal entry), one case in Belmopan (apparent travel to San Pedro),  three cases in the Northern Region (2 in Santa Marta and one in Orange Walk),  20 cases in San Pedro (2 related to clusters associated to a church and 10 related to cluster #1) and  three in Belize City (2 of which were linked to San Pedro and one to Orange Walk).

Notably, the Government of Belize is amending legislation to impose stiffer penalties on contraband runners and border jumpers for the northern communities, and had to lock down San Pedro entirely, as the island had more confirmed cases than all the areas in the northern health region combined.

 

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