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Don’t take Covid lightly, when schools reopen – CMO

Don’t take Covid lightly, when schools reopen – CMO
Dr Simone Keizer, Chief Medical Officer

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With schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) scheduled to reopen on April 12, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache is encouraging persons not to become complacent in the face of COVID-19.  

She is also encouraging persons to get vaccinated.  

“Vincentians are too comfortable because they feel COVID is a mild thing, a flu, and it is not going to affect persons, but we must realize that the same way a child can get COVID from a teacher or in a van going to school, a parent out there can also bring COVID home to that child,” the CMO stressed in an interview last week Thursday.  

It must also be noted that Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a serious condition that appears to be linked to COVID-19, has reared its head in the Caribbean, killing at least one child in Barbados and hospitalizing over 23 children in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).  

MIS-C is said to affect children who have COVID-19 or are recovering from it. While COVID-19 seems to be mild in children, MIS-C is more problematic.  

The CMO said it is now more important than ever before to adhere to the protocols put in place to fight the coronavirus, that is, washing and sanitizing hands regularly, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

She said with the reopening of schools, the public transport system may return to normal and this means the protocols are very important.  

Currently, vans are allowed to take only half of the passengers that they are licensed to carry.  

“The big problem, the major thing with vans is that we have a Statutory Rule and Order (SRO) saying persons in vans must wear masks…,” the CMO stressed while noting that if the vans are allowed to carry their full load, they must comply with the mask wearing protocol and the police must enforce the mask wearing SR&O in the vans.

Last week, during a press conference by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), the executive expressed concerns about students coming from homes with COVID-19 positive persons and returning to school.

In response to this, the CMO said a person living in a home with one or more COVID-19 positive persons should be under quarantine or isolation. She said that the protocol clearly states that the people in this home should be isolated from other persons.  

“If you have a positive COVID-19 person at home, everybody should be in quarantine and the positive person should be in isolation…people are forbidden from leaving the house…” Keizer-Beache said while noting that students coming from such homes should not be in school.