As of January 20, 2022, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs has recorded a total of 18, 746 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The commencement of the current fifth wave has been approximated to be around December 16, 2021 and since then, over 5, 623 cases have been diagnosed with an average of 161 cases daily. There are currently 3, 921 active cases.
Although Saint Lucia has not received confirmation of the presence of the Omicron Variant on island, the unprecedented increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 suggests that it is present. Our daily infection rate has risen from 98.5 to 166.3 per 100, 000 cases over a seven-day period, and our Rt has been calculated at 3.3, which is the highest since the commencement of this pandemic.
Although the evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous ones, its high transmissibility has resulted in more persons seeking medical care and the consequent overwhelming of healthcare services. As we continue to manage this current wave, the Ministry of Health appeals to the public to adhere to the established protocols in order to reduce further transmission to family, friends and other loved ones.
Throughout this pandemic, new evidence continues to emerge on the characteristics of the SARS- CoV-2. It is based on this that the Ministry of Health has made a decision to adjust the isolation and quarantine periods for confirmed cases and close contacts of cases respectively.
Effective Monday January 24, 2022 for persons who are considered close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19, and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, the quarantine period may be terminated after receiving a negative PCR test result (which should be taken on Day 7 after the last contact with the confirmed case of COVID-19). If the test was done before the seventh (Day 7) after the last contact with the COVID-19 case and is negative result, that result may be a false negative and the individual is required to get tested again on Day 7.
If symptoms develop during the quarantine period, the individual is advised to get another test. Individuals who are fully vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms, may end the isolation period after seven (7) days. If however, symptoms develop after testing positive, the isolation period must be restarted, with Day 0 being the first day of symptoms and terminated on completion of Day 10.
For unvaccinated persons who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, the isolation period remains ten (10) days from the date of the sample which led to the confirmation of COVID-19. If symptoms develop after testing positive, the isolation period should start over. Day 0 is the first day of symptoms and the 10 days of isolation must be restarted. Finally, for all persons who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms, regardless of vaccination status), a 10-day isolation period must be completed. The individual must also be asymptomatic for 3 consecutive days (days 8, 9 & 10) in order to be discharged from isolation.