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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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If you've been side-eyeing that super low 0.45% three-day daily positivity rate, you aren't alone.

Many Belizeans have questioned whether the inclusion of pre-screened ,vaccinated tourists who travel in a safe corridor has been used as a means of skewing the numbers.

We put the question to Dr. Natalia Beer this afternoon, and she fired back with a few questions of her own.

"My last question for you Doctor Beer is about the daily positivity rate. Many have said that it seems suspiciously low. And we wonder if that is because the departing tourists have already been tested for Covid before they arrived and upon departure, are they being included in that daily positivity rate?"

Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Ministry of Health
"Why do you say suspiciously low?"

"Suspiciously low for the numbers that are coming in. Last week we were having 20 something a day then it dropped to 7 a day. It seems that if we were counting the Belizean population for what it is, that positivity rate should have been higher."

Natalia Largaespada Beer, Ministry of Health
"I think one of the difficulties we are facing right now is the uptake of the rapid testing as we were doing before. I think that is one of the messages that we would like to remind the population that if the team reaches your community and the rapid testing is offered if you can please make much of the service that is being provided at community levels. Because those services is a plus effort from the health care workers and the objective is to carry close to home, these services. So, persons who were in contact with someone that is positive, persons who may have signs and symptoms and they may consider that at some point they were at risk, those are the persons that should be making much of this opportunity for us to reach and provide them with the service and have early detection and treatment for these positive cases along with the preventive measures: isolation and quarantine, as per protocol."

"But just for clarity, are those departing tourists being counted in our daily positivity rate?"

Natalia Largaespada Beer, Ministry of Health
"Do you know how many departing tourists leave the country positive?"

"I would believe zero."

Natalia Largaespada Beer, Ministry of Health
"Once they are diagnosed in Belize it is a case for Belize. They wouldn't be diagnosed elsewhere."

"I think the reason that the question is being asked in the public is because we expect these tourists to be negative because they have been vaccinated in their countries or they have been tested for Covid prior to coming here. So then, when we throw them into the mix it makes the numbers look better but are they really better?"

Natalia Largaespada Beer, Ministry of Health
"The most important thing for us to remind them, the public, is that they are all familiar with what happens when we have a positive case. And that should remain as is. The vaccine is a compliment to these preventive measures. So, we must continue identifying the cases early, identifying the contacts, determine who is close contact, get all of those close contacts tested and move on with the reporting of these cases and as much as needed, provide the testing and the treatment for those who are positive."

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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Testing Tourists Too

Today we asked the Health Minister about the public concern that those same daily COVID numbers are being distorted by the inclusion of test results for tourists. Those test results, when factored in, cause daily positivity rates of less than 1%.

Michel Chebat told us that the Ministry has to account for all testing done in the country:

Hon. Michel Chebat - Minister of Health and Wellness
"I don't believe that numbers are skewed. We have to include the composite of all the tests that are being done in the country. So, whether you're testing a tourist, or whether you're testing a national, the results must be included in the computation of where we are at any given time. And so, I don't agree that the numbers are skewed. And again, I keep on saying, if you don't have faith in the numbers, look at the secondary evidence, which comes from our hospitals. The number of hospitalizations we've had, and those will show - if you look at the comparison, you will see that the numbers of hospitalizations have fallen dramatically. So, those bear out the numbers that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is producing."

Channel 7

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