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New multi-tiered COVID-19 verification process causes delay in reporting – officials

New multi-tiered COVID-19 verification process causes delay in reporting – officials
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache

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A multi-tiered verification process to confirm new COVID-19 cases is now in use by local health authorities.

The Health Services Subcommittee of the National Emergency Committee said in a release issued Monday that the process involves the use of multiple tests to confirm the detection of, or exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

“This new process has resulted in a recent delay in the reporting of new COVID-19 cases. This process also resulted in what appeared to be the “rapid recovery” of eight (8) cases who were classified as recovered by the verification process.

“There has however been no delay in notifying those persons with a preliminary positive COVID- 19 test result of their status and required immediate isolation, until confirmation of their result. The contacts of those persons with preliminary positive results are also notified and advised to quarantine.

“These immediate notifications are in keeping with a ‘No regrets’ policy aimed at reducing any possible risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19,” the release said.

According to the release, four persons have been informed of their preliminary positive results and placed in isolation. Their contacts have been notified and quarantine implemented, or continued.

“One case arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines on AA 945 on July 18, and their preliminary result was detected during the five (5) to seven (7) day mandatory quarantine period. One preliminary case arrived on July 23 on Air Canada 980, having transited through Canada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Two (2) other preliminary cases were detected during analysis of swabs taken for COVID-19 PCR from all ninety-five (95) passengers who arrived on Saturday July 25 on AA 945. The verification process for all of these results is ongoing and any new confirmed positive case will be reported.”

The new protocol for travellers on commercial flights from the USA, whether direct or transiting from neighbouring counties, was implemented for AA 945 on Saturday July 25.

Ninety-five of the 140 passengers booked on that flight were allowed to board in Miami. Forty-five passengers were denied boarding because they lacked the required PCR results.

All of the arriving passengers had the required entry screening PCR test and were issued mandatory five-day hotel quarantine instructions. Ninety-four persons complied with the order.

One person is considered to have broken the quarantine order and has been referred to the Royal St Vincent and The Grenadines Police Force.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines currently has 13 active cases of COVID-19. This, from an overall total of 52 confirmed cases on record.

“The public is advised that all protocols will be revised as necessary, based on the changing nature of the COVID-19 disease and compliance of the public and travellers to St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The importance of strict compliance to all quarantine and isolation orders is paramount. It is only by complying with these orders and the use of masks in public spaces that the spread of COVID-19 can be controlled in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the release said.

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