Covid alert at two emergency shelters
MASSIVE TESTING AND contact tracing is taking place in two emergency evacuation centres after five persons who evacuated from the volcano danger zone this week tested positive for Covid-19.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, speaking on NBC Radio yesterday said two of the persons are in private accommodation, while the other three are in two shelters.
“Two of those persons were actually in the homes of relatives, so that we have exposure within a private home. And the other three persons, one in one shelter, exposing 12 persons in that family and two persons, in another shelter, exposing around eight persons in that shelter, immediately as close contacts.”
Twelve new Covid-19 cases were identifi ed in St Vincent and the Grenadines between April 13 and 14.
The CMO said health officials are conducting contact tracing and extensive testing of the contacts of the persons who tested positive.
She said earlier, they did not find any evidence of Covid-19 in the shelters, but because they were “very concerned”, they continued to test.
“One of the cases was actually symptomatic, that is what alerted us to the presence there, but in the others, there was a history of contact, so we are working on those.”
Keizer-Beache said at one of the affected shelters, no one had been vaccinated, which means everyone was vulnerable.
She said she is concerned about the spread of Covid-19
and reminded that most persons who have Covid-19 do not show symptoms and some of the evacuees have moved into homes.
“…And also because we also have community spread in other communities; people moving in and out of the shelters and mixing in the community. They might pick up something in the community and bring it back in.”
The CMO strongly advised that masks be worn as they now provide protection against two hazards.
“…We know it is very difficult to keep your mask on. But now we have two reasons, we have Covid and we have the ash. We are going to try to get more masks into the shelters, generally working along with mobilization and the shelter managers,” she said.
She called on the public to cooperate and work with them, but said they have been having resistance to requests to being tested for Covid-19.
“Not even talking about the vaccination here; just to do the testing; the rapid antigen testing, we’ve been getting quite a bit of resistance to even get that done. We need to know what is happening.”
In a release yesterday from NEMO, there were 4,136 people in Government run shelters, 3,718 taking shelter in private shelters.