Clarity Needed On New SVG Covid-19 Figures

By Demion McTair Updated 6:22 p.m., Thursday, 9 April 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4)

DISCUSSION – Four samples out of thirty sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for Covid-19 testing came back positive today, bringing to 12 the number of Covid-19 cases in SVG.

The other twenty-six were negative, a release from the National Emergency Management Organization – NEMO stated Thursday.

It is not clear, however, if the four new cases are from samples for persons who arrived in the country on March 25 and were slated to finish their 14-day quarantine yesterday, or, if they were from another pool of pending samples.

The release from NEMO did not specify who exactly comprised the 30 samples. The release stated that “The Caribbean Public Health Agency today reported on the 30 pending samples”.

“The patients who have been informed, are all Vincentian nationals and have been in isolation since the samples were taken for testing” – was the only other specific information given by the release on who the patients are.

Releases giving updates on new cases which are usually sent from the Health Ministry, and not NEMO, have been known to state at least the sex, country of travel and date of arrival in St. Vincent of new cases.

Even though the NEMO press release said 30 samples were sent for testing, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said in Parliament yesterday, (April 8) however, samples for “Thirty-two (32) people who will complete a 14-day quarantine today will still be tested for Covid-19, even though “they have no symptoms whatsoever”.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves speaking in Parliament of Wednesday April 8, 2020.

If the four new cases are from the same group of people the Prime Minister said arrived in the country on March 25, then it would mean the four new cases showed no symptoms of Covid-19, but carried the disease.

It would also bring into question the status of a further 2 samples which would make up 32.

If they are not the same samples of those who arrived on March 25, then it would leave uncertain who exactly the 30 pending samples were for.

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves announced yesterday in Parliament that there would be a 7-day extension of quarantine for 32 persons who were initially slated to end their 14-day quarantine on April 8.

The Prime Minister said that these persons are asymptomatic (show no symptoms), but the tests are being done “out of an abundance of caution”.

All four of the new cases are imported cases, according to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

One out of the total 12 Covid-19 patients has already made a full recovery. Thus, there are currently 11 active cases.

Monitoring of these patients is ongoing and all close contacts have been identified.

All additional public health measures will continue including the implementation of additional quarantine where necessary,” the release from NEMO said.

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