Saint Lucia expects an increase in COVID-19 cases among its school-age population as the Island copes with a sixth wave of the virus, a senior Health Ministry official has disclosed.
Dr. Delphina Vernor is the District Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs.
” Given the increase in our daily positivity and infection rates, we expect to see increases in the number of school aged children diagnosed with the virus,” she explained.
In a statement on Thursday, she said the continued impact of COVID-19 on the education sector and the future of children’s education is a matter of grave concern.
“It is crucial that students who are unwell not attend school. They should be assessed and tested for COVID-19 if deemed necessary by the health practitioner,” Vernor advised.
In this regard, she noted that COVID-19 symptoms vary.
According to the senior health official, students may present with typical flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and fever.
Vernor said others might have gastroenteritis-like symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, while some might complain of headaches or fatigue.
“If your child complains of feeling unwell, I urge you to do the right thing and get them assessed,” she stated.
Vernor also advised that if one household member is experiencing symptoms and is awaiting a COVID-19 test result, other children should stay home pending its receipt.
And noting an increase in rapid test kit use, the District Medical Officer explained that while the kits help in screening, the Ministry of Health requires PCR test confirmation.
She also said it was essential to report a child’s positive home tests to the school.
Vernor stressed the need for parental responsibility while highlighting the availability of Pfizer vaccines for 12-17-year-olds – the most affected group of youngsters.
” Please consider vaccination for your eligible children and of course, for yourself,” she said.
The complete statement appears below: