Thursday 3 December, 2020

Citizens urged to remain on high alert amid COVID-19 community spread.

Over the last 9 days, the Ministry of Health received confirmation of eight new cases of COVID-19.

These were COVID-19 cases number 29 to 36.

Given the professions of these cases and the social activities which they undertake a wide contact tracing and testing intervention is being undertaken.

This included community based testing at a number of sites, allowing for testing of a large number of people in a short space of time.

During the last 9 days, over 1,200 tests have been conducted in response to the contact tracing efforts.

According to Chief Medical officer, Dr Sharon  Belmar George, these cases were from varying communities but the Ministry's contact tracing team was able to establish a common link of all the cases to the Aux Lyon community on the east coast of Saint Lucia.

"During this past week, targeted testing was undertaken in communities of immediate concern at Aux Lyon, Dennery with a total of 167 people being tested, in Desruisseax, Micoud with 15 people tested and for the relevant staff and students of the Castries Comprehensive School with 182 people being tested.

This week contact tracing will be continuing as well as community-based testing, which is one of the strategies for identifying other cases which may exist in community.

This shall continue today Monday, October 19 with the continuation of testing within the Dennery community.

The Ministry of Health is pleased with the support which has been provided by the various organizations of concern as well as by community leaders and gatekeepers in mobilizing residents to participate in the testing efforts.

This partnership has had tremendous value for the public health response to the newly diagnosed cases.

The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to clarify that it has issued no directive that employers of relatives and friends of children who attend the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School to remain at home away from work.

Employers of these individuals are asked to take special note that this is required for any employee affiliated with the school.

Further we ask that while school is suspended children remain at home.

This period should not be seen as an opportunity for gathering together and socializing face-to-face whether in public or privately as we continue to implement strategies to prevent the risk of spreading the virus.

The general public is reminded that though the Ministry of Health has been able to establish a link among cases number 29 to 36, it is possible that there may be community transmission of COVID19.

As such, we all need to remain on high alert and ensure that throughout each day all the necessary measures are undertaken to reduce the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

This can be done by following the guidelines for preventing the spread of the infection which include consistently using face masks in public places, keeping a safe physical distance from others, washing or sanitizing hands frequently particularly throughout the day and to promptly seek care at the closest Respiratory Clinic if experiencing respiratory signs and symptoms. The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue providing updates as new information is received."

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