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COVID-19 Deepens its Bite

THE Government of Saint Lucia is undergoing deep cleaning and sanitization of some of its offices in light of the deepening COVID-19 crisis now gripping the island.

Just yesterday the offices of the Civil Status Registry located on Brazil Street, were closed for that purpose and on Sunday so too will be the Gros Islet Polyclinic, also for the same reason. This action comes amid a spike in diagnosed COVID-19 cases that now numbers 203 as of yesterday.

Health authorities and government officials have been pleading to Saint Lucians to follow the protocols put in place as adherence is considered the key to halting or slowing down considerable the virus’ spread, which to date has given no indication of slowing down as several businesses are now reporting employees being struck down by the virus.

The most recent business place being Massy Stores when one of its branches felt COVID-19 reach with employees, number withheld by the company, being tested positive for the virus.

A statement this week by the company noted that for the last nine months it had been strengthening its COVID-19 protocols and simultaneously preparing for worst-case scenarios by working closely with the health authorities and putting business continuity measures in place.

“To date we have restructured all of our Operations (stores, warehouses and offices) with safety in mind, while emphasizing at every opportunity to both staff, customers and the public at large the need to follow all national health and safety measures and protocols. We have placed significant resources towards this and will continue to look for ways to enhance our overall COVID -19 response,” noted the company.

Regarding the infected employees the company stated they are currently in isolation and from all indications doing well undergoing care.

“We will continue to maintain their privacy, therefore no further details on the personal identity of the affected employees will be disclosed. The safety of all our team is very important to us and as such the necessary contact tracing procedures are being followed. We fully appreciate the need to balance protecting the private medical information of team members who may have COVID-19, while also ensuring the continued safe operations of all of our locations,” the massy statement noted in part.

According to the company through the contact tracing process, a list of all persons who may have had direct contact with the individuals has been identified and contacted by the Ministry of Health and that Individuals who have been identified as close contacts have been tested and quarantined as required.

“The location where the individuals operate has undergone several deep cleaning sessions with very specific focus on high touch areas inclusive of offices,” the company stated, adding that it is working closely with the Ministry of Health’s protocols and monitoring the situation very closely to ensure that all business operations across locations can continue to operate safely to serve its valued customers.

Meanwhile, lack of adherence to COVID-19 protocols continues not just by locals but visitors as well as seen by a release from the Ministries of Health and Tourism yesterday both of which emphasized that should there be recognized loopholes in any of the protocols immediate measures of reinforcement would be taken.

This statement was made in light of a breach of the protocols by a hotel guest. The individual was subsequently transferred with the assistance of law enforcement and the Saint Lucia Fire Service via ambulance to a Government operated quarantine site where daily screening is being observed over a 14 day period.

On Thursday the Ministry of Health received confirmation of 20 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of cases diagnosed in country to date to 203. Ten of the cases are non-nationals. Two of these cases are visitors to Saint Lucia.

Last Sunday a cargo ship arrived into Saint Lucia carrying 11 crew members. After reports of respiratory illness among some of the crew members, they were all assessed and tested for COVID-19 and were placed in quarantine on the vessel. The Ministry of Health received confirmation that eight of the crew have tested positive for COVID-19. These are cases #185, #187, #188, #189, #192, #195, #197 and #202. These individuals are currently in isolation and are receiving care.

Case #186 is a 28 year old female visitor and case #190 is a 29 year old male visitor. Both of these individuals arrived in Saint Lucia on Monday November 16, 2020. On arrival, they went through the established screening processes and given they did not have the approved test, they were required to undergo COVID-19 testing in country. They proceeded to a COVID-19 approved accommodation where they were placed in quarantine pending their results. The individuals have been placed in isolation. The Ministry of Health has commenced contact tracing as per protocol.

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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