(PRESS RELEASE) – The Government of Saint Lucia tackles the COVID-19 pandemic with the measures of quarantine and isolation for persons who may be in contact with someone with the virus.
As Saint Lucia continues to respond to the global pandemic of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Wellness stresses the need to place individuals in quarantine and isolation to prevent the spread of the virus.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George outlined the difference between quarantine and isolation.
“We use quarantine for persons who are well and who may have been exposed to a communicable disease. So, these are people who feel well, they are asymptomatic with no signs and symptoms and may have been exposed. So, we monitor them during that incubation period to see whether or not they develop signs and symptoms. But if they do develop signs and symptoms we would then need to isolate them and isolation is for persons who are showing signs and symptoms and are sick. Many times, isolation is done in a hospital or health-care-type setting where they can get treatment as well. Isolation is even stricter because when you develop the signs and symptoms it means that you have the capacity to spread it to other persons.”
Dr. Belmar-George also spoke on the procedures put in place for individuals in isolation, given that it requires stricter conditions.
“From the beginning of isolation, we would have done to see if you negative or positive for the disease you are exposed to. So, we would do the test and keep you in the facility, it would be a single room and we would give you the necessary treatment until. After the isolation period of the disease when you have recovered, we would retest you and until you get a negative test and we would then allow you to go home.”
The chief emphasized the need for individuals to comply with the rules and regulations of the quarantine act.
“The quarantine authority is the chief medical officer. So, the chief medical officer has the power to determine the location and type, and designate an area or quarantine site. The chief medical officer also has the power to decide which person or things within isolation, within the quarantine facility and also indicate who can enter or leave the facility. It also gives the police the power to arrest, even without a warrant, someone who does not comply with the rules and regulations of the quarantine facility which is set by the quarantine officer who is chief medical officer.”
The Ministry of Health and Wellness appeals to Saint Lucians to continue adhering to the measures put in place in order to protect the nation from the virus.