COVID-19 cases rising at shelters, people refusing tests

By Demion McTair. Updated 10:20 a.m., Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

The number of new Covid-19 cases recorded at shelters housing volcano evacuees has increased since April 27.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache said on radio yesterday (May 3) that only 11 Covid-19 cases were reported at shelters on April 27.

Three days later, however, (on April 30) the number of cases in shelters rose to 32, the CMO said.

The CMO reported on Monday (May 3) that sixteen new Covid-19 cases were recorded at shelters on April 30, 14 of which were from two shelters and two were from a private shelter/home.

The CMO said that while the cases are rising, conducting COVID-19 tests at the shelters is of particular concern.

“We really are trying to impress upon everyone the importance of testing because as you know, the protocols for the shelter management in terms of Covid and health, we are supposed to be doing testing on a regular basis, random testing within the shelters so that we can do early detection,” CMO Dr. Keizer-Beache said.

She said early detection and containment are very important “because that’s how we have been able to control Covid in St. Vincent”.

The CMO said however, that there has been a lot of resistance to testing as persons in shelters have refused to be tested.

“So now, we’re in a situation where somebody turns up with symptoms and then you realize that person is positive and then you have to go and check persons and you finding these clusters in these shelters,” she said.

“That’s a major challenge and we really would like persons to comply with the tests. It’s not anything that is going to give you Covid as some persons are thinking, we just need to know what’s happening to control,” Dr. Keizer-Beache added.

According to the May 4 report from the National Emergency Management Organization – NEMO, there have been no new Covid-19 cases or recoveries.

One hundred and forty (140) cases are currently active.

Some 1,882 cases of Covid-19 and 1,731 recoveries have so far been recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since March 2020.

NEMO says it is urging the continued mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, physically distancing, and COVID-19 vaccinating to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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