St Lucia’s increasing COVID-19 cases alarming, lacks attention

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Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet (L) Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Sharon Belmar George

By Caribbean News Global contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Irrespective of the reporting methodology by the Ministry of Health (MOH) the extraordinary and continuous rise in new COVID-19 case, is symptomatic of poor medial and political leadership, consistent with inconclusive policy advise and applicable measures.

The MOH has acknowledged among other delays that, “The Ezra Long Laboratory continues to work to reduce the present backlog of COVID-19 samples.”

According to the MOH reporting methodology, 278 new cases of COVID-19 was recorded on February 11, 2021.

“This is from a batch of 617 tests conducted on samples taken during the period January 29 to February 11, 2021.

  • Monday, February 8, 2021: a total of 287 tests were conducted with 117 positive samples;
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2021: a total of 330 tests were conducted with 161 positive samples.

“The total number of active cases currently in the country to date is 973. Two of the active cases are in critical care at the Respiratory Hospital and all of the others are presently stable. The new cases now bring the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date to 2,415.”

Meanwhile, the MOH Rapid Antigen Point-of-Care Testing has been introduced to scale-up testing for COVID-19 nationally.

“The validation phase covers a one week period and is expected to be completed by February 13, 2021. Due to the high prevalence of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia, any individual with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, who tests positive on an antigen test, is considered a confirmed COVID-19 case. However, while the validation phase is being undertaken, anyone presenting for testing at the clinics which were previously mentioned receives both an antigen and a COVID-19 PCR test.”

Caribbean News Global ac_may_fed St Lucia’s increasing COVID-19 cases alarming, lacks attention
(L-R) Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Minister for Health and Wellness Mary Issac, Minister for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee

Conversely, minister for health Mary Isaac said: “If you obey the protocols and you don’t drop your guard, you cannot get COVID-19,” elaborated, “If everybody had obeyed the protocol like they do in Taiwan with 25 million people, we would not be where we are today.”

Minister Isaac, admitted that “They dropped the ball somewhere.” And unfailing with the government mantra to blame the people for everything that has gone wrong, indicated: “Anybody who has had it dropped the ball. They either went to visit a family member, a friend, they hugged a person they loved that had it and they got it. If I have it tomorrow, it’s because I dropped my guard,” Isaac said.

On the other hand, Saint Lucia continues to rely on the generosity of friends, allies, and the government of Barbados and Dominica for 1,000 and 2,000 doses respectively for the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine produced by India. The government received the vaccines on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of their readiness for a  vaccination programme.

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