The Ministry of Health on Sunday, January 10, 2021 received confirmation of twenty four new cases of COVID-19 from a batch of 278 COVID-19 tests conducted by the Ezra Long Laboratory. This brings the total number of cases diagnosed in country to 462.

All twenty four cases are Saint Lucian nationals ranging in age from 11 years to 47 years. They are from the Castries, Gros-Islet, Anse La Raye, Dennery, Babonneau and Choiseul districts.

They were seen at a community respiratory clinic, where they were assessed and tested for COVID19. While awaiting receipt of their test results, they were placed in quarantine by a health practitioner. Epidemiological links have been established for seventeen of these cases. Investigations are on-going by the contact tracing team to determine the possible existence of a link for the other seven cases. Arrangements have been made to place these individuals into isolation.

The rate of increased cases was anticipated due to the numerous breaches noted during the holiday season. The Ministry of Health anticipated and prepared for managing these increases during the month of January 2021. The Ministry of Education has been working in collaboration with the school principals to put the necessary measures in place to ensure the health and safety of all is prioritized.

Today Monday January 11, 2021 the second term of the academic year commenced. With the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed over the past week we understand the concern felt by students, parents, teachers, administrative staff and the general public at large. Access to updated information and the school specific protocols is key to managing without panic and anxiety. 

The Ministry of Health and Wellness remains available to provide support as needed to the sector as its re-opens educational institutions.

The COVID-19 environment requires increased effort by every single one of us. Parents, please ensure that children are kept at home or taken to the closest respiratory clinics if they develop respiratory symptoms. Do ensure they are given a clean face mask daily, with hand sanitizer. Encourage our children to cooperate with the school authorities to keep all of us safe. Keep the lines of communication open to address any fears that they may have.

We understand the strain that has been put on teachers who are managing with new modalities during the last few months and encourage them to continue cooperating with their principals to provide a safe, healthy academic environment for the future of our nation. We acknowledge the leadership of the principals and the Ministry of Education in guiding the sector during this difficult period of co-existing with COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is working to strengthen the surveillance system to detect and to manage the anticipated increases in COVID-19 numbers over the next 14 days. The public is advised to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and family.

Especially now as we are at risk of transmission due to increased numbers of cases, everyone is asked to continue practicing the recommended infection prevention and control guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. – Wash your hands often during the day using soap and flowing water – Wear a mask in public places and ensure it covers the mouth, chin and nose – Maintain a distance of six feet from others – Use a bleach solution to sanitize frequently touched surfaces and frequently handled objects – Avoid contact with other people who have flu-like symptoms – If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, keep away from others and seek medical care at the closest community respiratory clinic.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue providing updates as new information becomes available. For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.

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