St. Lucia’s CMO “anticipates” more new COVID-19 cases

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St. Lucia’s CMO “anticipates” more new COVID-19 cases
Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, St. Lucia's chief medical officer

By Shareene Lindsay

(St. Lucia News Online) —  UPDATED: Saint Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Sharon Belmar-George has put the country on alert to expect more new COVID-19 cases after case #38 was recorded on Wednesday, Oct. 21 – indicative of a community spread for the first time.

“We anticipate new cases as we continue the process to identify, test and isolate further contacts,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

Later, following this statement, case #39 was recorded; case #37 was recorded the day before (Tuesday, Oct. 20) and three cases were recorded on Oct. 18.

In comparison, St. Lucia had recorded a 100 percent COVID-19 recovery on Sept, 3. At the time, all 26 persons or confirmed cases were reportedly repatriated or recovered fully.

The latest victim, case #39 is a 38-year-old male from the Dennery region. He was tested during a community testing exercise conducted this week, the CMO said.

Case #38 is a 53-year-old female from Gros-Islet. Belmar-George said the woman was identified during the contact tracing process and has been linked to cases 33, 34 and 37.

“As such, she was tested and placed in quarantine. She has now been isolated for care at the Respiratory Hospital,” the chief medical officer said. “All efforts are being made by the public health team to rapidly respond to contain further spread of cases.”

The CMO added that all the new cases this week “have all been identified through the contact tracing process and that tracing process continues this week”.

In an earlier statement, when three cases were reported in one day (Oct. 18), Belmar-George suggested that a community spread is underway.

“In all three of these cases there was no travel into Saint Lucia…. Although the Ministry of Health has been able to establish a link amongst cases number 29 to 36, it is important that we all bear in mind the likelihood of community transmission,” she had said.

TIMELINE AND SUMMARY OF CASES #27 TO #39

Case #39 – recorded Oct. 21 – male, 38, Dennery

Case #38 – recorded Oct. 21 – female, age 53, Gros Islet – linked to cases 33, 34, and 37

Case #37 – recorded Oct. 20 – male, age 43, Gros Islet – linked to cases 33 and 34

Cases #34, #35, #36 – recorded Oct. 18
– #34, male, age 21 – linked to #31, his father, age 47, Castries, diagnosed on Oct. 14
– #35, female, age 23 – linked to cases 30, 31, 32, and 34
– #36, male, age 21 – linked to cases 33

“In all three of these cases there was no travel into Saint Lucia…. Although the Ministry of Health has been able to establish a link amongst cases number 29 to 36, it is important that we all bear in mind the likelihood of community transmission.”

Case #33 – recorded Oct. 16 – female, age 62 – linked to case 32. #33 works at an educational institution where #32 attends

Case #32 – recorded Oct. 16 – male, age 14, Castries –  linked to cases #30 and #31 (his parents). Case #32 is a secondary school student

Cases #30 and #31 – recorded Oct. 14 – male, age 47, and female, age 38, couple from Castries –

Case #29 – recorded Oct. 10 – male, age 48 – #29 is a taxi driver

Case #28 – recorded Oct. 7 – female, age 29 – she arrived in St. Lucia on Sept. 27 from the United States of America

Case #27 – recorded Sept. 8 – male visitor, age 27 – he arrived in St. Lucia on Sept. 6 and was repratriated to the United States via private airline on Sept. 9.?

On Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, Saint Lucia recorded and reported a 100 percent recovery from COVID-19 (not the first time the country has achieved this).

“Saint Lucia has recorded a total of 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. The last case recorded on Tuesday, August 18, was a 32-year-old female who travelled from the United States. She has recovered fully—both clinically and with negative tests,” a Ministry of Health press release reported on Sept. 3.

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