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December 30, 2021
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December 30, 2021

Omicron warning: Ministry of Health sees evidence of variant in Belize

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Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2021. 11:31 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: While it has yet to be officially confirmed, the Ministry of Health and Wellness issued an urgent warning this morning informing that symptoms and patterns with recent COVID-19 cases have changed, reflecting those associated with the Omicron variant of the virus.

“Currently, the majority of cases present upper airway symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and sore throat associated with a mild fever and/or muscle aches and pains. The cases are increasing exponentially with a leap in the positivity rate from 2.5 to 16 in a very short period of time,” the Ministry reported, explaining that epidemiologically these appear consistent with Omicron.

It added, “Although cases are appearing to be mild when compared to the Delta variant, the rapid rise in cases in the country remains a significant concern and a threat to the health system. It is imperative that the public is aware that, clinically, the Omicron virus is in the country and therefore must strengthen public health and social measures at home and workplaces.”

233 new cases were reported over the Christmas weekend and 331 alone on Wednesday, lifting the number of active cases to near 900 after dropping to a recent low of 473 last week.

The Ministry urges the public to continue to follow strict public health and social measures by wearing a properly fitted face mask at all times in public, washing and sanitizing hands regularly, maintaining proper physical distance, and avoiding crowds and enclosed areas. The public is reminded that gathering and socializing in large groups are prohibited and that bars and nightclubs remain closed.

It adds that COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, remain very effective at preventing severe symptoms of this disease and death. Boosters are being offered three months after the second dose of the two-dose vaccines and two months after the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen single-dose vaccine. Please speak to the ministry staff at any of the vaccine sites for more information.

The Ministry of Health & Wellness further implores the public to work together to protect the vulnerable population, ensure a safe reopening of schools, and stop the spread of COVID-19.

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