A three-year-old girl from Babonneau has died, becoming the first pediatric COVID-19 death.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar –George in a statement said the child had serious underlying medical conditions.
The child was admitted to the Respiratory Hospital on January 27 and passed away 12 days later on February 8, 2022.
CMO Belmar-George explained that the main risk factors for severe COVID-19 in children include chronic lung disease, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, prematurity and airway abnormality.
She also stressed that individuals below the age of 18 years make up 10-13% of COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia to date. These cases, however, have been mild and have recovered well.
“We continue to note reductions in the public health indicators and the downward trend in the epidemiological curve. We forecast to be within the normal country threshold by the third week towards the end of February 2022,” the CMO said.
Belmar-George warned that individuals still need to be mindful, however, as COVID-19 cases recorded on a daily basis can increase hospitalizations, deaths and affect productivity at various workplaces.
The Ministry is currently in the process of reviewing and updating all protocols in collaboration with various stakeholders.
“As of February 13, 2022, Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 22,121 cases in country, with 1,544 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last seven days is 28.1 per 100,000 population per day which represents a 55% reduction from last week, with a 37% average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 1.6,” stated the CMO, who appealed to all organizations as well as the public and private sector to strengthen all public health protocols.
Since the commencement of the fifth wave on December 16, 2021, 8,992 individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 with an average of 152 cases per day. Women account for 58% of the cases and 52 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded, 65% of which is male. The majority of the deaths are COVID-19 related due to other associated chronic health conditions. Tourists account for 3.4% of the cases diagnosed for the past seven days but 4.7% of the total cases during the fifth wave.
Although the cases diagnosed are noted island-wide, the Ministry stated that the main areas affected are Castries, Gros-Islet, Vieux-Fort and Babonneau. The Ministry also urged individuals to get vaccinated and said that the vaccines which are on-island have been proven to be safe and effective in protecting individuals from developing COVID-19, its severe forms, complications, hospitalizations and death.
“Presently, the AstraZenenca COVID-19 vaccine is temporarily unavailable on island and a shipment is expected soon. However, the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available at the various wellness centers and advertised vaccination sites. The booster vaccine is also available for persons who have been fully vaccinated for over six months. Everyone who has not been vaccinated is urged to get vaccinated urgently,” the CMO said.