CASTRIES, St. Lucia – St. Lucia has become one of only three countries in the world where all persons infected with COVID-19 have recovered. The two other nations without any deaths are Greenland and St. Barth.
In a statement providing an update Friday on the island’s COVID-19 status, the Ministry of Health said the 15 people who had tested positive for the virus have all recovered and been discharged from care.
Results received on Friday, from 60 samples tested during the period April 21-24, were all negative.
“We note that this is as a result of the collective efforts of our health professionals working collaboratively to manage our cases and the sacrifices made by the public during the period of shut down,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George said.
She stressed that although this 100 percent recovery rate provides St Lucia with a milestone, the gains should not be a reason for the public to let their guard down or throw caution to the wind.
“We are still implementing our national response to the COVID-19 epidemic and, as such, we should collectively remain focused and committed to reducing the spread of this virus,” Dr. Belmar-George said.
“At this stage, it is still difficult to accurately predict how the pandemic will progress for us in St. Lucia. Three possible outcomes are: complete interruption of human-to-human transmission, recurring epidemic waves (small and large) and continuous low-level transmission.”
She added that as the country gradually facilitates the availability of essential services, the risk of transmission is increased.
“We predict recurring epidemic waves with low-level transmission. This requires that the public work closely with us in maintaining the physical distancing measures at all times,” the CMO said.
“The Ministry of Health has to remain vigilant and maintain the capacity for early detection, aggressive contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, testing and treatment capacity.”
Dr. Belmar-George said the testing protocols have been expanded to cover persons with respiratory symptoms within communities, which will continue into the weekend.
“At our health facilities, persons who present with flu-like symptoms are assessed and persons who satisfy the clinical requirements for COVID-19 are tested. With ongoing screening and testing, there is the likelihood of new cases being confirmed in the coming days or weeks,” she added.
Dr. Belmar-George stressed that although there is no immediate evidence of circulation of COVID-19 within the population or evidence of community spread, it cannot be assumed there are no cases or that new cases cannot be detected.
“With this in mind, every individual is asked to protect their health and well-being. Ensure that all the recommended infection prevention and control measures are being followed closely. This includes the use of facial masks, cough and sneeze etiquette and frequent hand washing,” she said.
“The Ministry of Health continues active surveillance for COVID-19 but in the interim we ask all to remain guarded. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms go to the nearest respiratory clinic or call one of our tele-medicine physicians for guidance.”