Sunday 29 November, 2020

SLMDA president concerned about rise in COVID-19 cases

Dr Merle Clarke

Dr Merle Clarke

The president of the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association, Dr Merle Clarke, has added her voice to the growing concerns regarding the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases after three employees at the Owen King EU Hospital tested positive for the disease.

The three cases were confirmed on October 26 and the hospital's director, Nancy Francis, told Loop News that the wellbeing of staff and team members is a top priority.
She also explained that as a result of the COVID situation, outpatient services at the facility has been suspended for the next 14 days.

In response to the news, Dr Clarke echoed Francis' sentiments, stating that the well-being of SLMDA members is one of the defining pillars of the organisation.

She added that the recent revelation shows that COVID-19 does not discriminate who gets infected.

"What this tells us, in part, is that nobody is exempt, and this should be a reminder that we all need to stick to protocol.

"I would just like to say that our colleagues are doing well, they are receiving the support that they need from us; emotional, and otherwise," she added.

Dr Clarke quickly slammed rumours that there was an attempt to hide the information from the public, saying: 

"The idea that everything needs to be sensationalised is unfortunate. The comparison being made that information was hidden about this, as opposed to the bus driver is ludicrous! The bottom line is, if a physician tests positive, you know who the physician saw, these are issues that are documented." 

The SLMDA president also urged the public to refrain from stigmatising infected persons, especially now, as the number of cases continues to rise rapidly by the day.

She said: "Let's try to do what we need to do, and as a nation, we're going to get through this. Importantly, do not stigmatise anyone who you know has had COVID-19, because interestingly enough, one of the things everybody wants to know, the names of patients who've been diagnosed with COVID-19. There is no need for that, there is no need for the sensation. We as a nation should just ensure that we are our brother's keeper, that we are doing our part. If everybody, in their own space does their part, we are going to beat this."

Dr Clarke concluded by emphasising the SLMDA's support for the CMO as well as the MOH, saying: "As an association, we will continue to work with the hospitals, and with the Ministry of Health to ensure that our fellow citizens are sticking to guidelines, and certainly that we are doing so as well."

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