NEMO issues Covid warning after Grenada outbreak
The single largest cluster of positive COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Caribbean was recorded this week in Grenada, causing health officials in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to urge persons in the Southern Grenadines to refrain from travelling to the neighbouring islands, including Carriacou.
This warning, which was issued via a release from the National Emergency Management Organisation on December 16, encouraged persons to avoid travelling to Grenada due to the rapidly changing situation in those islands.
The spike of cases in the neighbouring country began on December 13, when it recorded a total of 26 new cases in one day, which have been linked to a guest at the Sandals Resort.
Reports indicate that the virus spread to the community via the resort’s workers, and included one worker and a dozen members of her family, who all tested positive in what is the single biggest cluster in the Eastern Caribbean.
Prior to the spike of cases last weekend, Grenada had recorded a total of 45 confirmed cases since March.
According to the World Health Organisation, the country’s previous peak for a daily total was only six cases – 20 fewer cases than was recorded last Sunday.
Up to press time on Thursday, Grenada had recorded a total of 85 cases, 41 of which have recovered.
Grenada’s health authorities said on Sunday that the situation warrants a health emergency and that all efforts have been deployed, including personnel and resources, to address the threat to public health, safety, order and the maintenance of medical and other supplies and services essential to life in Grenada.
The Sandals Resort was deemed a place of screening and assessment, and households related to confirmed cases were quarantined, with active contact tracing taking place to determine potentially exposed people outside of the resort.
Carib Update News, on December 14 reported breaches to protocols outlined in Grenada, with airport and tourism insiders saying that there appeared to be waivers granted to people going to Sandals, which relevant authorities, from all indications, took no measures to correct despite the warnings.
The report further said that in one instance, a woman who is claimed to have had two positive PCR tests prior to travelling, was able to make her way from New York to Grenada, where she was a guest at Sandals without going through any quarantine.
A spokesperson for Sandals Resort told The Washington Post via e-mail this week that the resort remains open for current guests to enjoy and that quarantine measures are being strictly enforced in an effort to ensure zero risk to the rest of its operations.
No new guests are expected to be accepted by the resort in Grenada, and work is being done to accommodate guests with their travel plans to another of Sandals’ resorts in the region.
Prime Minister Keith Mitchell announced new measures for Grenada, as officials work to determine if in fact Sandals breached health protocols.
“The magnitude of this new cluster of cases means it is not business as usual during this holiday season,” Mitchell said.
A 10 pm curfew has now been implemented, as businesses are required to close by this time. Restaurants and bars have now been limited to takeout only and only 10 persons at a time are allowed at gatherings.