Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Former Chief Medical Officer calls for second test for visitors

Dr Stephen King

Dr Stephen King

As the COVID-19 cases begin to rise in Saint Lucia, many are calling for the government to follow suit and implement similar testing upon arrival protocols as Barbados.

Former Chief Medical Officer Dr Stephen King weighed in on the discussion stating that while the Barbados protocol is sensible and seems to work, Saint Lucia needs to adopt and adapt to see how best to implement them.

“In my particular presentation, I talked about the public health approach to how we need to move forward with the initiative when it comes to COVID-19 specifically. The Barbados protocol is one we need to adapt or enhance but we have to see how we can manage because it demands a certain capacity and certain resources. We now have to brainstorm.”

Dr King believes that if all government health entities come together, things could be done right when implementing such protocols.

“We are going to be sharing with the CMO, Government Command Center how we think things could be done possibly with them. Right now, this is a joining hands across all divides and I think what we need to do is to advocate for what is right.”

The protocol issued by Barbados requires visitors from medium to high-risk countries to present a negative PCR test upon arrival and are to remain in quarantine until they are retested four to five days later; once negative they are cleared by health officials to continue their stay on the island.

Recently visitors to the island have tested positive for COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar-George has stated recently that a second test is not needed in Saint Lucia due to the success of current protocols.

The CMO said, "For us, we prefer to stick to the 14 days, which is the incubation period, and keep our strict protocols within the sector.

We have allowed some sites and attractions through a very structured and scheduled way, so the need to put in that measure has not been a part of our policy and to date, it seems to be working, we have not had outbreaks from guests in the accommodation sector so we don’t see the need to change it at this point.”

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