St Lucia Health Ministry notes upward trajectory of sixth wave

St Lucia Health Ministry notes upward trajectory of sixth wave

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

St Lucia: As of May 8, 2022, the country has diagnosed a total of 23,778 cases in the country, with 352 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last seven (7) days is 25.1 per 100 000 population per day, which represents an 88 percent increase from last week, with a 16 percent average testing positivity rate as well as a transmission rate of 1.9.

The government have noted a total of 368 COVID-19 deaths. We have ten (10) positive COVID-19 cases admitted to the Respiratory Hospital. This past week we continue to register cases daily, and we note increases in our public health indicators.

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs have 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 1 of the samples sequenced and 16 cases of the Omicron BA2 Variant and 1 BA2.1. All of the samples are from locals, 61 percent are male, and 44 percent 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, the St Lucian authorities have noted the upward trajectory of the 6th wave in the country. We anticipate increasing numbers over the next few weeks. The Omicron sub-variant BA2 is characterized by high transmissibility. It is expected to affect entire households, productivity in the workplaces, school absenteeism for quarantine and isolation, increased hospitalization and Respiratory Clinic numbers.

As the residents of St Lucia 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 the 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 the transmission of infection to ourselves and our families. The public is guided to continue the use of face masks in public and ensure handwashing 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 classrooms, 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 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.

The authorities further appealed to all organizations, the public and private sectors, 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.

The St Lucian government further informed, “For more information, please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.”