PRESS RELEASE — As of March 17, 2020, the WHO reported a total of 179,111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally with 7426 deaths. There are now 4,910 cases in the region of the Americas. The affected region includes Dominican Republic (21), Jamaica (10), Cuba (5), Trinidad and Tobago (5), Guyana (4), Saint Lucia (2), Antigua and Barbuda (1), Bahamas (1), Guatemala (1), Saint Vincent and Grenadines (1), Guadeloupe (18), Martinique (16), Puerto Rico (3), Saint Barthelemy (3), Aruba (2), Saint Martin (2), US Virgin Islands (2), Cayman Islands (1) and Barbados (2).
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020 the Department of Health was informed that the Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet was experiencing a mild cough following recent travel history to Miami for medical attention and in an abundance of caution he had opted to place himself into voluntary quarantine. He contacted the Chief Medical Officer and a medical team was dispatched to assess the Prime Minister. A sample was taken for testing which included testing for COVID-19.
The sample was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA. The result was received late on the same day, March 17, 2020 and it is negative for COVID-19. The Honourable Prime Minister has been informed of his results. He is in stable condition and good spirits.
It must be highlighted that the Prime Minister, led by example in his decision to report and quarantine himself until results were received. We continue to encourage the public to do the same, if you develop respiratory symptoms, stay at home or seek medical care at one of our respiratory clinics. Do not attend public activities or areas.
Prior to receiving the results, the Ministry of Health had commenced the routine process of contact tracing. Some of the close contacts of the Honourable Prime Minister also voluntarily placed themselves into quarantine as a precaution, while we awaited the results.
Along with the results for the Honourable Prime Minister, the Department of Health also received the results of nine patients in isolation and they are all negative. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia remains at two (2). These two (2) patients remain in stable condition in isolation and are doing well.
As such, the public is reminded to focus on the maintenance of standard recommendations to prevent the spread of infection. These include:
– – regular hand washing 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 and share your travel history with your health care provider if you have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel.
We continue to advise on social distancing as an effective strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.