Living safely in the COVID-19 environment

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Living safely in the COVID-19 environment

(PRESS RELEASE) – As of April 26, 2020 the World Health Organization reported a total of 2, 804, 796 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with 193, 710 deaths. There are now 1,094, 846 confirmed cases in the region of the Americas. The affected region includes Dominican Republic (5,926), Haiti (72), Barbados (77), Jamaica (288), Cuba (1337), Dominica (16), Grenada (15), Trinidad and Tobago (115), Guyana (73), Antigua and Barbuda (24), Bahamas (72), Saint Vincent and
Grenadines (14), Guadeloupe (149), Martinique (170), Puerto Rico (1,276), US Virgin Islands (55), and Cayman Islands (70).

Saint Lucia has recorded a total of 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 all of whom have recovered and been discharged from care. A total of 446 tests have been carried out to date.

We are still implementing our national response to the COVID-19 epidemic and as such, we should collectively remain focused and committed to the actions for reducing the spread of this virus.

At this stage, it is still difficult to accurately predict how the pandemic will progress for us in Saint Lucia. It must be noted that as we gradually facilitate the availability of essential services the risk of transmission is increased. Also, the reality is St. Lucia cannot remain closed indefinitely. Our assumption is the likely scenario for the epidemic within our context shall be recurring waves with low level transmission. This requires that the public work closely with us in maintaining the physical distancing measures at all times.

The public must note that COVID- 19 remains in all regions around us and given it is a new virus our entire population is at risk of getting it at some point in time. As such, we need to learn to live safely in this COVID-19 environment. Every single sector must also prepare for the new way of operating in anticipation.

The Government of Saint Lucia has been providing these protocols. This requires a behavior change and new way of living. During the coming weeks our Public Health and Primary Health Care teams will be providing you with information to support you as we transition to co-existing with COVID-19.

One such aspect includes the need to ensure our immune system is functioning at its best. This requires a balanced, healthy diet including the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, drinking water throughout the day, regular exercise, adequate rest, and sleep and managing our stress level to keep it to a minimum. Also, the avoidance of smoking, drugs and excessive alcohol intake which are all detrimental to the body and limits our ability to properly manage illnesses.

Some individual measures that must be sustained include hygiene measures such as hand washing and respiratory etiquette, use of homemade face masks, remaining home and away from public places when sick, regular personal hygiene and keeping homes and office spaces clean.

The populations most at risk, which include the elderly and persons living with chronic conditions, would require special considerations to keep them safe and healthy. This includes staying at home as much as possible, ensuring control of chronic conditions, and facilitating the services to them as needed.

Periodically, additional public health and social measures may still need to be instituted to restrict and reduce movement as needed based on stage of the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has kept health services available to ensure care for our chronic care patients, urgent care conditions, emergencies, antenatal care, immunization program to name a few. We have had to make adjustments to conform to the physical distancing protocols and to ensure a safe environment for our patients who need care. One of the new measures includes the appointment system for the specialty clinics, antenatal care and child health clinics. We ask the public to be patient and cooperate with us.

The Ministry of Health shall remain vigilant and maintain the capacity for early detection, aggressive contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, testing and treatment capacity. The health education component is critical to keep you informed in a timely manner.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue provide the public with regular updates on COVID-19.

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