A 38-year-old, female, Belizean national from San Pedro is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Belize, according to The Ministry of Health.
The patient sought medical attention after arriving in Belize on Thursday, March 19. She arrived at the private health facility with symptoms on Friday, March 20. Prior to this visit, she travelled from Los Angeles, California and transited through Texas. Based on her symptoms and travel history, Belize’s health system was alerted, and due process and protocol was started. All necessary precautions were taken on the Ministry’s end.
The sample was processed for COVID-19 and other flu viruses. It was confirmed as positive for COVID-19 at approximately 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 22.
According to The Ministry of Health, the patient’s infection appears to be travel-related and, as a result, necessary steps are being taken to contain community spread. The initial measures include:
- Dispatch of two health teams to San Pedro to continue with the mapping exercise of all potential contacts.
- The timely identification and contact tracing for all potentially exposed persons
- Shifting of health tasks at the San Pedro Polyclinic.
To prevent community spread, the Government of Belize will now heighten restrictions and recommendations for both residents and non-residents.
The Ministry of Health, in accordance with international standards, will notify the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization through the International Health Regulations platform.
The surveillance team continues to investigate the patient and those she interacted with to find out what level of contact she may have had with other individuals. Those persons may now be isolated, tested and closely monitored for two weeks, which may include mandatory quarantine.
Suspected cases continue to be monitored. In addition, there is ongoing monitoring of Belize’s points of entry, and the reviewing and adjusting of methods or protocol.