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Five Ministry of Health staffers, senior officials quarantined

Two frontline workers test positive for Covid-19

Five Ministry of Health staffers,  senior officials quarantined

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One day after it was confirmed that two frontline workers had tested positive for COVID-19, five members of staff of the Ministry of Health, including three senior officials were quarantined after being exposed to a positive person.

Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the chief medical officer confirmed on Tuesday that two health workers had contracted the virus and were in stable condition in isolation.

“So far, from investigations, those infections were not contracted – or let’s say the exposure to COVID did not take place at the work site. They were outside of the health facilities, where they work,” Keizer-Beache said at the press conference, which was hosted via the ZOOM platform.

She added that testing was being carried out on all contacts of both workers.

As of January 4, all work contacts of one of the positive healthcare workers had tested negative for COVID-19.

And testing was ongoing for work contacts of the other worker.

Keizer-Beache said testing will also be carried out on the workers’ home and non-work contacts.

“…Keeping our healthcare staff safe is an extremely important goal of this ministry of health because if your healthcare staff is not safe, if they contract [the virus], we cannot take care of you…” she said. “I’m urging everyone, I’m urging the healthcare workers, I’m urging the families of the healthcare workers, the friends, I’m urging all Vincentians, wear your masks. Let us protect each other.”

On Wednesday, the health ministry issued a release stating that the chief medical officer, permanent secretary Cuthbert Knights and minister of health Jimmy Prince were among five members of staff that had been placed in quarantine, having been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person six days prior.

The minister and the four officers of the health ministry were tested on January 5 and found to be negative for COVID-19.

But “out of an abundance of caution”, the individuals were advised to quarantine for a period of five days, ending tomorrow, January 9.

The release said the Minister, permanent secretary and chief medical officer will continue to work remotely from their quarantine locations.

To date, SVG has recorded a total of 149 COVID-19 cases, 100 of which have recovered, leaving 49 active cases.

Of those active cases, 23 were recorded by persons with no recent travel history.

Those local cases are currently under investigation by the Ministry of Health.