The Veil Has Been Lifted... If Not Yet Removed!
(Or Covid, Construction & License Update)
As of June 12, the US no longer requires a negative Covid test for vaccinated travelers to re-enter the US…and your Covid vaccination card is all that is needed to enter Guatemala. Your Health Talents team welcomes this news and barring a reimplementation of previous policies by either government, is thrilled to remove the negative test requirement for travel to Guatemala as a condition for trip participation.
It is true that Covid remains a health concern with most of the country experiencing moderate levels of infection with less severe symptoms. Our pandemic protocols for patient care remain in place even as the Guatemala government has relaxed their mask mandate. (Masking for all, gowns and face shields for dental providers and gloves during during direct patient contact.)
US volunteers who wish to join one of our dental, medical or surgical teams must be vaccinated against Covid or provide lab test showing the presence of Covid antibodies.
The 6.2 earthquake on February 15 did cause structural damage and we must replace the roof on our efficiency apartments. That decision was made after two civil engineer inspections and approved by our Executive Committee on June 2. (We will also make some non-structural repairs to the sterilization room and townhouses as a result of the quake.)
The bio-hazard waste containment building we were required to construct is complete and we have applied for approval from the Ministry of Environment. Once that is received, we are ready to apply for the level one hospital license.
Since we cannot provide surgical care without a license, we have sought opportunities to serve in other areas. Wheelchair clinics and women’s health clinics are two such examples, with a wheelchair clinic in June and women’s health clinic in July.
Our core ministry of mobile dental and medical clinics are running strong if a bit compromised by lingering Covid concerns and fluctuating infections.
It is almost certain that surgical trips will not resume until 2023.