As of May 8th, 2022 Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 23,778 cases in country, with 352 active cases presently.
The daily infection rate for the last 7 days is 25.1 per 100, 000 population per day which represents an 88% increase from last week, with a 16% average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 1.9.
We have noted a total of 368 COVID- 19 deaths. We have 10 positive COVID-19 cases admitted at the Respiratory Hospital. This past week we continue to register cases daily, we note increases in our public health indicators.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs has recently received new gene sequencing results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency. The results indicate the presence of both the Omicron BA1 and BA2 Lineages. The Omicron Variant BA1 which has been circulating since February 2022 was confirmed in one of the samples sequenced and 16 cases of the Omicron BA2 Variant and 1 BA2.1. All of the samples are from locals, 61% are male and 44% of the cases are from the southern part of the island.
The Omicron BA2 variant is responsible for the new waves noted regionally and internationally. Based on the data analysis, we note the upward trajectory of the 6th wave in country. We anticipate increasing numbers over the next few weeks.
The Omicron sub-variant BA2 is characterized for high transmissibility. It is expected to affect entire households, productivity in the work places, school absenteeism for quarantine and isolation, increased hospitalization and Respiratory Clinic numbers.
As we learn to live safely with COVID-19 and as restrictive measures are removed, we need to ensure that our proven public health protective measures are in place to prevent us from getting sick and to protect the most vulnerable. The public is reminded that the threat of COVID-19, long COVID and its complications still exists, especially given our below average immunization rate in country.
The Ministry of Health continues to ensure that the necessary measures are in place to effectively manage the new cases. However, personal responsibility is extremely important at this time, to reduce transmission of infection to ourselves and our family. The public is guided to continue the use of face masks in public, ensure hand washing and proper general sanitization. The public is also advised to use their discretion and limit their attendance at mass crowd activities.
To reduce the spread within class rooms, parents are reminded to avoid sending children with respiratory signs and symptoms and children who were directly exposed to positive cases to school.
The Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Moderna vaccines are available at the various wellness centers. 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.
We appeal to all organisations, public and private sector to ensure the maintenance of the public health protocols. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs will be providing more information and guidance over the next few days.