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Belizeans trained to test for COVID variants; Delta believed most prevalent

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Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2021. 4:37 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Central Medical Laboratory now has persons trained – and training others – in determining the types and varieties of variants of the SARS-nCov2 virus which causes COVID-19.

Previous testing done outside of Belize established the presence of the Delta and other variants here in June, but at time no one here was trained in testing for the different variants.

Since then, two persons – one controversially – have been trained and according to Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Deputy Director, Central Health Region, are back training others.

She told Channel 7 News on Wednesday that the retraining has commenced but she is not sure when everyone will be up to speed. Staff from Baylor College, which hosted the training, are also here to assist.

But she added that it doesn’t take a peek through a microscope to determine that the fast-spreading, infectious Delta variant is most prevalent here as it is elsewhere.

As she revealed, “…we have people who were infected over the last six months or three months with the original virus and now they have become reinfected with the delta variant. So many times when a country has established that okay the main circulating variants are alpha and delta, there is now no need to be continuously checking each person for the variant, we do know now that that’s the variant circulating, we can see it is more severe, we can see that younger persons are being affected more severely so we do still check for some variants but it’s not being done as in the amount of PCR’s before because we have established that this is what is circulating in Belize.”

The virus, in its many forms, is responsible for close to a hundred deaths since August 1 and a steady rise to now more than 2,000 active cases countrywide, as well as a rise in hospitalizations and severe illness.

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