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Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 2, 2021 (SKNIS): In an effort to curtail further community spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Ministry of Health through the National COVID-19 Task Force has implemented a robust contact tracing system that has led to several persons being quarantined. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws indicated that persons who are currently quarantined will have to be tested a second time and have a negative result before they can leave quarantine, whether they are quarantined in a government facility or at their home.

“Teachers and students were tested over the Whit Monday holiday weekend and placed into quarantine due to contact tracing, with the student households also placed into quarantine. The end of their quarantine period is fast approaching and so the Ministry of Health will be coming back to the schools beginning Thursday, June 3, 2021, from 9 am to test students from grade 1-3 and teachers. Once these tests return negative, then the students and the teachers will be officially released from quarantine,” said Dr. Hazel Laws.

The Chief Medical Officer stated that the self-quarantine period requires two tests, one at the beginning of the quarantine period and one at the end. Dr. Laws also indicated that the main goal of the Ministry of Health is to contain the current wave of COVID-19 cases by using pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical methods and a wide range of public health protocols.

“Our main task at present is to contain this wave of cases; our aim is to flatten the curve and make sure we have a minimum number of persons being impacted or contracting this disease. We are employing well-known public health measures including contact tracing. The contacts are placed in quarantine, the cases are placed in isolation, we are testing all contacts, and we are also doing targeting testing,” said Dr. Laws.

Further, in a few communities, there will be targeted testing being done for individuals who fall within the contact tracing net. Contact tracing will be used to break the chain of transmission and curtail any advancement of community spread across the Federation.

For persons who have been in self-quarantine over the last two weeks due to the ongoing contact tracing exercise, Dr. Laws indicated that a letter will be provided for those persons to submit to their employers. If any person is in quarantine due to contact tracing at a school, they should submit the letter of request to the school’s principal. Individuals not associated with any school must call the 311 hotline to make a request for their letters to be processed.

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