Matthews Ridge residents concerned about health risks

first_img…say regional officials tight-lipped on situationRegion One (Barima-Waini) health officials remain tight-lipped on the situation relating to the condition of the miners who are being assessed at Matthews Ridge, even as another Chinese miner fell ill and is being treated for a respiratory tract infection at the Pakera Hospital, in Matthews Ridge.An official from the Manganese Company Inc told Guyana Times on Friday that another miner was admitted to the hospital, however, the official could not allude to the severity of the miner’s condition or whether he will be transferred to the city.The Public Health Ministry in a statement said the miner’s condition was “critical” but “stable.”While the operations at that manganese company’s worksite remain at a standstill, other operations of the company are progressing.ConcernsHowever, residents of Matthews Ridge have expressed concerns over the health risks involved and are furious that health officials are not disclosing information as to the seriousness of the situation.“Every time I see them nurse and ask about it, they keep telling me we can’t talk we ain’t want get in trouble,” one resident told this newspaper on Friday. Several residents who reached out to this newspaper on Friday said that it is time the health authorities speak to persons living in the area since they are very worried about the situation.Efforts to obtain a comment from the regional health authorities by Guyana Times proved futile.This newspaper was told that the Matthews Ridge to Port Kaituma road has been closed to vehicles attached to the Manganese Company, however, the official from the company has denied this development.Regional officials however could not offer a confirmation on this new development Friday.Another Chinese miner died on Wednesday at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC), while several others who were brought out from the mining camp remain patients.Chief Medical Officer of the GPHC, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, when contacted by this newspaper on Friday said tests are still being conducted even as they await results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) about a possible diagnosis for the patients who did not test positive for leptospirosis. “When the results come back, whatever they are, we will disclose,” he said. He could not say when the results will return.On Thursday, when Guyana Times visited the surgical bloc, it was observed that the miners were being kept in an isolated area that was cordoned off. A doctor was at the time administering checks on the patients; however, he was not allowed to offer any updates on the miners’ condition.Meanwhile, the Ministry’s statement on Thursday confirmed the miners died from complications associated with leptospirosis while undergoing treatment at the GPHC. It also said two of those patients have since been discharged after successful treatment.Dr Shamdeo Persaud has iterated that all precautionary measures are still in place at the Matthews Ridge tunnel site and its immediate surroundings, adding that essential medical supplies are in stock to treat employees of the mining firm and residents of the area.Since last week’s outbreak, the area has been deemed a ‘Red Zone’ by Public Health Ministry authorities, and “no one is allowed to enter the site,” Dr Persaud reminded on Thursday.The CMO has also stated that the hospital is continuing its evaluation of the miners, and additional tests are being done by CARPHA to obtain a diagnosis for some of the patients who were not tested positive for leptospirosis.Reports are that post-mortem examinations conducted on the two miners – Zhong Zhenglong, 47; and Zi Zheng Guo, 47 – on Thursday morning revealed that they died from haemorrhagic pneumonia as a result of leptospirosis. The more than one dozen affected miners exhibited symptoms of pain, fever, headache and respiratory distress.Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, when approached by the media for a comment on the diagnosis of the other ill Chinese workers, subject Minister Volda Lawrence refused to comment on the issue.The manganese mining company has been instructed to halt further exploration until the Public Health Ministry and a team from the Occupational Health and Safety Department of the Social Protection Ministry advice further on the matter.The quarantined area at the GPHC where the sick miners are being treatedlast_img read more

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HDTV’s here: Time to get out the rabbit ears

first_imgCLEVELAND – Buying an antenna for a high-definition television seems as out of place as using a rotary phone to make a call. But some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on LCD or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that don’t look much different from what grandpa had on top of his black-and-white picture tube. They’re not doing it for the nostalgia. Local TV channels, broadcast in HD over the air, offer superior picture quality compared to the often-compressed signals sent by cable and satellite TV companies. Consumers who can get a digital signal from an antenna will get an excellent picture, said Steve Wilson, principal analyst for consumer electronics at ABI Research. One major difference with a digital over-the-air signal is it doesn’t get snowy and fuzzy like the old analog signals did. Instead, the picture will turn into tiny blocks and go black. “You either get it or you don’t,” said Dale Cripps, founder and co-publisher of HDTV Magazine. “Some people can receive it with rabbit ears; it depends where you are.” Schneider recommends indoor antennas only for customers within 25 miles of a station’s broadcast tower. An outdoor antenna will grab a signal from up to 70 miles away, as long as no mountains are in the way, he said. The Consumer Electronics Association has a Web site http://www.antennaweb.org/ that tells how far an address is from towers and recommends what type of antenna to use. “When you’re using an antenna to get an HD signal you will be able to receive true broadcast-quality HD,” said Megan Pollock, spokeswoman for the group. “Some of the cable and satellite companies may choose to compress the HD signal.” Compression involves removing some data from the digital signal. This is done so that the providers will have enough room to send hundreds of other channels through the same cable line or satellite transmission. The difference in picture quality is a matter of opinion, said Robert Mercer, spokesman for satellite provider DirecTV Inc. “We believe the DirecTV HD signal is superior to any source, whether it’s over the air or from your friendly neighborhood cable company,” Mercer said. Others disagree. Self-described TV fanatic Kevin Holtz of suburban Cleveland chose an antenna because he didn’t want to pay his satellite provider extra for local broadcast channels. Holtz, 30, can’t get the signal from one local network affiliate or a public broadcasting station, but the rest of the stations come in clearer than they would through satellite, he says. He uses a $60 antenna for a 40-inch Sony LCD, which retails for about $3,000. “Over-the-air everything is perfect,” Holtz said. Another downside to using just an antenna is that only local channels are available, meaning no ESPN, TNT, CNN or Discovery Channel. Some consumers partner an antenna with cable or satellite service. Many people aren’t aware that they can get HD over the airwaves, Wilson said. He estimates there are 10 million households with HDTVs and that fewer than 2 million of them use antennas. Including homes with analog sets, 15 million of the 110 million households in the United States use antennas. HD antenna prices range from $20 to $150 for indoor and outdoor versions. The many models of available indoor antennas look more like a fleet of spaceships than the rabbit ears of old. Brand names include Terk, Philips, Audiovox, Jensen and Magnavox. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And the best part? Over-the-air HD is free. “Eighty-year-old technology is being redesigned and rejiggered to deliver the best picture quality,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “It’s an interesting irony.” A few years ago, Schneider started an assembly line in his garage and sold antennas out of the trunk of his car. Now his Eureka, Mo.-based company has seven employees and did $1.4 million in sales last year. He expects revenue to double in 2007. “People thought I was nuts. They were laughing at me when I told them I was starting an antenna company,” Schneider said. Before cable and satellite existed, people relied on antennas to receive analog signals from local TV stations’ broadcasting towers. Stations still send out analog signals, but most now transmit HD digital signals as well. (Congress has ordered broadcasters to shut off old-style analog TV broadcasts by Feb. 17, 2009.) last_img read more

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