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COVID-19 Spike Causes Longer Operating Hours at Respiratory Clinics

HEALTH authorities yesterday extended the hours of operation at community respiratory clinics following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Effective this weekend and until further notice, The public is asked to note that services will now be available on Saturdays at the Vieux Fort Respiratory Clinic, Gros-Islet Polyclinic and the Dennery Hospital from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public is reminded that the Soufriere Hospital continues to offer a twenty-four hour service daily which includes weekend,” noted a release from the Ministry of Health.

Image of Dr Sharon Belmar-George
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George

With the country experiencing six new cases yesterday, the public health team of the Ministry of Health undertook a contact tracing, testing and health education intervention in Saltibus as part of the response to the spike.

The Ministry of Health yesterday received confirmation of six new cases of COVID-19 bringing the national total to forty-eight. The six newly diagnosed cases were identified through the contact tracing processes and were in quarantine pending their results. They are all now in isolation for care.

According to the Ministry case number 43 is a close contact of case number 39. Cases 43 to 48 all reside in the same household in the Castries district. This brings the total number of active confirmed cases currently isolated in care to 21.

Case number 43 is a 40 year old male
Case number 44 is a 38 year old female
Case number 45 is a 3 year old female
Case number 46 is a 12 year old female
Case number 47 is a 4 year old male
Case number 48 is a 47 year old female from the Gros Islet district

“This is the single highest number of cases diagnosed within one day. As the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues its response to cases, it is important to state that with the increasing number of cases that each individual recognizes they have the ability to reduce the spread of this virus. By keeping to the infection prevention and control guidelines the spread of virus from one person to another can be stopped,” The Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The Ministry of Health is appealing to anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms which include cough, sore throat, fever, to please promptly seek care at the closest respiratory clinic, adding that anyone experiencing these symptoms should not be in the workplace, participating in social activities or in public places like banks, supermarkets or stores.

“The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to remind everyone that it is important to:

– ensure a mask is always worn while in public
– maintain the six- foot physical distance from the next person which is about a distance of two arm’s length
– follow the floor markers in public spaces where they are available.
– Wash and sanitize hands often throughout the day
– cover your sneeze and cough with a tissue or your inner elbow when tissue is not available.” The release stated.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Education has changed the date for the reopening of schools to Monday November 9, 2020 in light of the community spread of the virus.

“We continue to stress the multifaceted mode of learning and teaching, employing both traditional methods and online learning during this period. We also ask that parents encourage children to remain at home as per one of the protocols in combating the spread of the Coronavirus is to avoid mass crowd gatherings,” Education Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert said.

She too called on the public to continue to cooperate with the authorities and to adhere to all of the protocols.

“Wear your mask when you are out in public, wash hands frequently using soap and water, sanitize and avoid mass crowd gatherings as much as possible. And if you are showing any signs and symptoms do seek medical care,” she said.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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