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Saint Lucia Confirms Presence of Omicron BA1 and BA.2 Lineage

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs recently received new gene sequencing results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA which have indicated the presence of both the Omicron BA1 and BA2 Lineages.

The Omicron Variant BA1 which has been circulating since February 2022 was confirmed in 11 of the samples sequenced. Two cases of the Omicron BA2 Variant were confirmed. Of the two cases of Omicron BA2 diagnosed, one is a male national from Anse La Raye and one is a female non-national from Gros- Islet.

The Omicron BA2 variant is responsible for the new waves noted in Barbados, Martinique and the developed countries. The Omicron Variant remains the dominant variant circulating globally and has replaced all other circulating variants in most countries. Although there is reduced SARS-CoV-2 testing globally from the beginning of 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic continues with intense transmission and death particularly in high-risk populations and the unvaccinated.

As of April 17, 2022 Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 23,111 cases in country, with 70 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last seven days is 6.8 per 100,000 population per day which represents a 7% increase from last week, with an 11% average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 1.2.

The island has recorded a total of 367 COVID-19 deaths. Presently there are four positive COVID-19 cases admitted at the Respiratory Hospital. Saint Lucia, this past week registered COVID-19 cases daily along with increases in its public health indicators.

The Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Moderna vaccines are available at the various wellness centres. 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.

“As we strive to live safely with COVID-19 and remove restrictive measures and open up the country, it is important that our public health protective measures are in place especially to protect the most vulnerable,” noted the Ministry of Health, which appealed to all organizations, public and private sector to ensure the maintenance of the public health protocols.

“Let us strive to sustain the low number of COVID-19 cases as we live, work, study and recreate safely with COVID-19,”cautioned the ministry in a press release yesterday.

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