St Lucia: As of June 8, 2022, the country has diagnosed 26,250 cases of COVID-19 in-country, with 492 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last week is 28.3 per 100,000 population per day, with a 29 percent 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 to the Respiratory Hospital, one critically ill and two sick severely. This past week St Lucia registered 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 the residents and citizens and protect the most vulnerable.
The authority reminded the general public that the threat of COVID-19, long COVID-19 and its complications still exists, especially given our below-average immunization rate in the country. The ministry stated, “Personal responsibility is extremely important at this time, to reduce transmission of infection to ourselves and our family. The public is guided to continue using face masks in public and 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.”
It added that 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 their households and communities for mosquito and rodent breeding grounds. The use of mosquito nets is also advised. We already note some areas with high mosquito indices at this point.
Health Ministry is closely monitoring the multi-country monkeypox outbreak globally and has increased surveillance and put measures in place to manage in-country. From May 13, 2022, to June 2, 2022, 780 laboratories confirmed cases were reported from 27 Member States that were not endemic for monkeypox. The prime concern is that most confirmed cases reported travel history to Europe and North American countries. The risk is presently assessed as moderate by WHO as this is the first time that many monkeypox cases and clusters are reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries. St Lucia has not recorded any cases of monkeypox to date.
The signs and symptoms of monkeypox 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 monkeypox are given symptomatic treatment, antipyretics for fever analgesics for pain. Nutrition and rehydration are particularly important. Some patients may develop severe and life-threatening complications.
The ministry noted, “For more information, please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit at 468-5309/468-5317, respectively.”