Tuesday 14 July, 2020

St Lucians failing to distance and wear masks in communities - CMO

The Department of Health and Wellness implores everyone to cooperate during the current phased reopening of the country which commenced from Monday, April 13, 2020.

The Department makes an urgent plea to community members to adhere to the recommended six feet physical distancing measures and the use of a face mask or scarf.

We do not see compliance at the level of the communities. Saint Lucia is still at a very critical position in the response to the national COVID-19 threat.

To this end, we appeal to the public to adhere to those measures.

  • By maintaining the recommended 6ft distance, you reduce the likelihood of getting infected or spreading the virus when people around you may cough, sneeze or make physical contact.
  • The face mask or scarf should be used for source control by reducing the potential exposure risk from infected persons during the “pre-symptomatic” period.

For face masks to be effective in reducing infection, they must be used properly. Some basic guidelines include:

  • Ensure the mask is clean before use.
  • Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before touching mask.
  • The mask should be held by the ties or the loops only.

These measures, if adhered to by each and every individual, shall significantly slow down the spread of COVID-19. On its own, the virus is unable to spread, rather people spread the virus. As such, by remaining at home, avoiding mass crowd activities, the potential of an outbreak of COVID-19 is significantly reduced.

Though keeping these physical distance measures and wearing a face mask may be challenging for some and very different from what we know to be normal within the communities, its benefit in preventing of local transmission surpasses any inconveniences we face.

We continue to advise the public to focus on the maintenance of standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:

  • regular handwashing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.
  • cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.
  • avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
  • seek medical attention if you are experiencing respiratory signs and symptoms

The Department of Health asks you, the public to boost your immune system by ensuring you are eating healthy while at home. That includes a diet made up of fruits and vegetables and also to get the necessary exercise at home and in your yard. Keeping a good immune system will reduce possible chances of developing COVID-19 if you were in contact with someone who has it.

As of May 12, 2020, Saint Lucia has recorded a total of 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Seventeen are fully recovered and have reintegrated into their communities while one active case is currently in hospital care and recovering well.

The Department of Health and Wellness will continue providing regular updates on COVID-19.

For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively

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