GIS:- Over the last 14 days Saint Lucia has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases of COVID-19. Recorded from August 4 to 14 were 497 new cases, increasing the total number of active cases to 1025. Then on Aug. 18, the Ministry of Health reported 158 new cases and two deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in country to 69.
At a press conference Thursday, Minister for Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs, Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste stressed that testing and contact tracing remain important tools in preventing the spread of the virus.
Minister Jn Baptiste informed that government is working on increasing the resources available to public health sector.
“During the period January to March, 17,527 tests were done. Between April to July, there were 22,722 tests done – an increase of 5,200 tests. We encourage more Saint Lucians to get tested.
“We will increase testing sites and are seeking support for additional supplies. It is only when we test as many as possible will we know the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Saint Lucia,” he said.
“I am advised that the Ezra Long Laboratory now has the capacity to increase the number of tests per day with the acquisition of new and advanced machines. We are in the process of providing additional support to the contact tracing team and to the team that monitors patients in home isolation. Currently we have only one doctor and four home isolation monitors for the entire island. We will change this situation and make it better.”
Prime Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre said Government is taking a holistic approach to combating COVID-19, however, the cooperation of the general public is crucial. The Prime Minister has called on all Saint Lucians to take responsibility for their actions. He said vaccination and education are key pillars in the fight.
“It’s very simple. The science has shown that vaccination plus public health protocols are the only approaches, for now, that will stem the surge of COVID-19 cases so our first approach will be to get people vaccinated. We cannot force people to be vaccinated, but we can inform them that vaccination may save their lives. As such, there will be constant education and constant discussion so that people can understand that they should vaccinate for their own good and the good of their families,” the Prime Minister said.
Health Minister Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste has echoed the Prime Minister’s plea for the public to adhere to all COVID-19 measures.
“I am advised that mass gatherings for social events are still taking place,” the minister said. “The leadership of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has reviewed the situation with a view to ensuring that the owners and organizers of these events desist. Contact tracing information has demonstrated that a large majority of the current cases have originated from very large social gatherings mainly in the north of Saint Lucia – Gros Islet, Babonneau, Castries, and the age range most affected is 25 to 49.”
In addressing government’s decision not to implement stricter protocols, Prime Minister Pierre indicated that the government will not intimidate nationals into compliance, but rather encourage public participation in the management of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t make any sense to create that level of animosity. We’ve seen the instances of people being dragged and the fights that break out because some people were not wearing masks. We are trying to encourage people to do what is right for them. We believe the majority understand that what government wants for them is good. I believe in the goodness of mankind, and I believe that by constant education and not by coercion or force that people will wear their masks and we bring this scourge under control. I have faith in the people of Saint Lucia that they will do the right thing,” the Prime Minister said.