Saint Lucians have been told to learn to live with the coronavirus as government moves to include the management of the disease into the country’s health systems.
“This means most clinical care for COVD-19 can be readily accessed within our community wellness centres with the exception of the Respiratory Clinic and Hospital related services for diagnosis or care for COVID-19. Most health care services have returned to normal operations at this point,” stated the ministry yesterday.
As of Monday, this week Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 29,570 cases of COVID-19 in country, with 406 deaths. The daily infection rate for the last 7 days is 6.0 per 100,000 population per day, with a 9% average testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 0.7.
“We continue to register COVID-19 cases daily, and we note the reluctance of the public to get tested so the Ministry of Health is aware that current cases on our records are under reported. Due to the reluctance for testing at this point, we estimate the numbers registered to be much lower than actual figures reported cases in communities. Both the public and private sector physicians report significant numbers of persons with respiratory symptoms. Our hospital admissions are low, but we continue to note significant numbers of COVID-19 deaths. The public is advised to continue to take personal responsibility to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, especially those with underlying health conditions. The use of the mask remains relevant and effective in reducing transmission,” noted the ministry in a statement yesterday.
Regarding monkeypox, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This declaration came with detailed recommendations for countries to prevent, reduce and limit monkey pox transmission.
“We note an overall decline in cases globally, due to the decline in monkeypox cases in the regions of Europe and the Americas. To date, we have tested a total of 16 monkeypox suspect cases, which are all negative. To date, Monkey Pox has not been confirmed in Saint Lucia,” declared the ministry’s statement.
The Department of Health and Wellness continues to receive reports of cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) from healthcare providers and pre- schools on island. Cases of HFMD are recorded annually in Saint Lucia and early interventions usually limit transmission. HFMD is a contagious illness caused by different viruses. It affects infants and children younger than 5 years old, however, older children and adults are also susceptible. The main symptoms include fever, sore throat, painful mouth sores, blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of feet and other areas.
The public and pre-schools are reminded to take the recommended preventative disinfection and sanitary measures to reduce spread and control the outbreak. Persons who suspect they may have this or note symptoms in their children are advised to visit their nearest medical care facility.