PM: St. Vincent’s second COVID-19 patient had at least 64 contacts

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PM: St. Vincent’s second COVID-19 patient had at least 64 contacts
PM Gonsalves
PM Gonsalves

(SEARCHLIGHT) — At least 64 persons may have had contact with the woman who has been confirmed as St Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) second case of COVID-19.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Friday, April 3 during a press conference with officials from the ministry of health.

“The ministry, as of the moment, has the contacted or traced 40 odd of them and will complete that tracing today (April 4),” the prime minister said.

“Thus far, no one of the 40 odd has had any symptoms of COVID-19 so that is good news. So far, so good…”

SVG’s second confirmed case of COVID-19 was disclosed to the public on April 1. The release from the health ministry said that the patient, who arrived in SVG on March 25 from the United States, was in mandatory quarantine from the time of her arrival.

However, there is evidence that this patient broke quarantine after her arrival here and came into contact with several persons.

One resident from her home community told SEARCHLIGHT that the patient “walked the whole of …[the village], hugging and kissing people.”

Additionally, the patient is said to have taken public transport and visited several business places in the capital, including SVG Port Authority, the Customs and Excise Department, a shipping agency and at least one hardware store.

“The person, who perhaps had the closest contact with her, a person from her community, that person has no symptoms, but because of the close contact, the medical authorities advised that that person be put in quarantine,” Gonsalves said on Friday.

The prime minister said that person was put in a quarantine facility because they did not have the facilities needed at home self-quarantine.

Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the chief medical officer said it is recommended that all persons who have been in contact with the second patient go into self-quarantine.

She also explained why someone is not tested unless they are exhibiting symptoms.

Keizer-Beache said there were two different types of tests: the PCR, which looks for DNA and rapid testing which looks for antibodies.

She explained that PCR test results will detect a positive usually after five days of symptoms. “…So that even if we did a test on someone who was asymptomatic, and it came back negative — presuming we were doing it here, because as we said, CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) will not do a test on somebody who is asymptomatic. If we did a test, here in St Vincent, using PCR on somebody who was asymptomatic and we got a negative result, that still will not allow us to say that that person is not COVID positive,” the chief medical officer said.

The CMO said rapid tests usually detect positive results after seven to 12 days of symptoms. She also noted that false negatives can be given in both instances.

“And therefore, it will be a waste of resources and it will not give somebody peace of mind that they are free because that person will still have to stay in quarantine for the entire 14 day period and we would still have to retest them if anything, so it would be a false sense of security,” she said.

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