CMO Updates Nation on General Health Issues

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

As of June 8, 2022 Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 26,250 cases of COVID-19 in country, with492 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last 7 days is 28.3 per 100,000 population per day, with a 29% average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 1.3. We have noted a total of 370 COVID-19 deaths. We have 18 positive COVID-19 cases admitted at the Respiratory hospital, 1 critically ill, 2 severely ill. This past week we continue to register cases daily, we note increases in our public health indicators. As we continue to note the return to normalcy with the opening up of events and mass crowd activities, we need to ensure that the 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-19 and its complications still exists, especially given our below average immunization rate in country. 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 facemasks in public, ensure hand washing and proper general sanitization. The public is also advised to use their discretion, ensure they and their vulnerable family members are fully vaccinated and boosted before attending mass crowd events. The public is also reminded that as we commence the rainy season this also corresponds to increases in vector borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Leptospirosis. The Ministry of Health has intensified community and household visits, fogging operations and public education. The public is reminded to inspect around their households and communities for mosquito and rodent breeding grounds. The use of mosquito nets is also advised. We already note some areas with the. high mosquito indices at this point.

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the multi country Monkey Pox outbreak globally and has increased surveillance and put measures in place to manage in country. Since May 13, 2022 to June2, 2022, 780 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported from 27 Member States not endemic for Monkey Pox. Of particular concern is that most of the confirmed cases reported travel history to countries in Europe and North America.

The risk is presently assessed as moderate by WHO as this is the first time that many monkey pox cases and clusters are reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries. Saint Lucia has not recorded any cases of monkey pox to date. The signs and symptoms of Monkey Pox include rash (macules, papules, vesicles, pustules and scabs), fever, enlarged lymph nodes, back pain and muscle pain. Testing for Monkey Pox in the region is facilitated through the Caribbean Public Health Agency CARPHA. Patients with monkey pox are given symptomatic treatment, antipyretics for fever analgesics for pain. Nutrition and re-hydration are particularly important. Some patients may develop severe and life threatening complications.

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