COVID-19 and complications still exists in St Lucia, says CMO

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Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Sharon Belmar-George

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Sharon Belmar-George advised Wednesday that “COVID-19 and its complications still exist, given the below-average immunization rate in country”.

The CMO issued the warning in a general update that omitted the immunization rate, however, expressing, “the daily infection rate for the last 7 days is 28.3 per 100,000 population per day, with a 29 percent average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 1.3. We have noted a total of 370 COVID-19 deaths.”

Also, consider that COVID-19 processed samples are well below the ability to test up to 2,000 persons in one day.

The CMO further noted that “this past week we continue to register cases daily, we note increases in our public health indicators.”

Again, this is expected – given the below-average immunization rate in-country, low testing rates, and according to the CMO:

“As we continue to note the return to normalcy with the opening up of events and mass crowd activities, we need to ensure that the proven public health protective measures are in place to prevent us from getting sick and to protect the most vulnerable,” adding “personal responsibility is extremely important at this time, to reduce transmission of infection to ourselves and our family. The public is guided to continue the use of face masks in public, ensure hand washing and proper general sanitization. The public is also advised to use their discretion, ensure they and their vulnerable family members are fully vaccinated and boosted before attending mass crowd events.”

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Meanwhile, it is curious that chief education officer Dr Fiona Philip-Mayer has appealed to parents of children who recently completed the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA), to send the youngsters back to school.

Unofficially, there have been numerous reports of COVID-19 infections in the school network and throughout Saint Lucia.

Philip-Mayer reminded parents that school is where the youngsters belong. “This is where they should be and until such time as we close for the academic year. We would want to have all of our children at school regardless of the fact that CPEA has ended – there is instruction to be covered.”

“Similarly we appreciate that the social ills are alive and well and we know that idle minds and hands – we don’t want to even think of possibilities,” Philip-Mayer said.

In a press release June 3 from the ministry of health, the subline read: “Following discussions, the cabinet has decided on the continuation of all current protocals for the period Saturday, June 4, 2022, to Friday, July 1, 2022.

Confused?

The CMO also reminded the public that as “we commence the rainy season this also corresponds to increases in vector-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Leptospirosis. […] The public is reminded to inspect around their households and communities for mosquito and rodent breeding grounds. The use of mosquito nets is also advised. We already note some areas with the high mosquito indices at this point.”

The ministry of health said it is closely monitoring the multi-country monkeypox outbreak globally and has increased surveillance and put measures in place to manage in the country.

“Since May 13, 2022, to June 2, 2022, 780 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported from 27 Member States … of particular concern is that most of the confirmed cases reported travel history to countries in Europe and North America.”

Toronto’s public health officials confirmed on Thursday, monkeypox virus case count has risen to nine. Toronto Public Health (TPH) says 23 cases are currently under investigation.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has published its first technical briefing on the ongoing monkeypox outbreak. Of the cases interviewed, 81 percent were known to be London residents and 99 percent were male. The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old.

“152 cases participated in more detailed questionnaires. In this data, 151 of the 152 men interviewed identified as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men, or reported same sex contact. Recent foreign travel, within 21 days prior to symptom onset, was reported by 75 cases, with 59 of these reporting travel within Europe,” said UK Health Security Agency.

The risk facts are such that travel and tourism from Europe and North America is Saint Lucia’s economic pillar. To date, reports the CMO, “Saint Lucia has not recorded any cases of monkeypox.

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