The Chairman of Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 Management Centre (CMC) Cletus Springer has announced that indications are that a fifth COVID-19 wave has started on the Island.
Springer made the announcement in a Facebook post which is reproduced below:
Fellow Saint Lucians, it’s my unpleasant duty to tell you that all key indicators point to the start of a 5th Wave of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia.
This news should not surprise you as the CMO and I had forewarned that such a development was inevitable, especially as December is a month of heightened social activity and international travel.
From our daily updates over the past week, you will have already seen evidence of a dramatic upward trend across all indicators. The most recent data at December 28, confirms this as follows:
*The rate of transmission (Rt) has increased from 0.8 to 1.9. This means that every infected person now infects nearly 2 people.
*The number of active cases is up from a low of under 100, a week ago, to 178.
*The Positivity rate, that is, the average percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed that are positive, has risen from 3% to 7%. The percent positive is a critical measure because it tells us how widespread infection is in an area where the testing is being done.
*The average daily infection rate—which tells us how actively the virus is spreading—has almost quadrupled from 3% to 11.6%. This means that every day, nearly 4 times as many people are getting infected with COVID-19.
It is important to note that these indicators do not capture the impact of social activities that took place over the past week. We should see these impacts by the first week of January, and by mid-January, we can expect to see the impact of New Year’s Day activities.
Also important, is that we do not yet know whether and/or Omicron is influencing the data and what effect it will have in the future. Based on its ease of spread, we can expect to see a surge in daily infections.
Even though our Respiratory Hospital has 130 beds, based on current staffing availability, we know that only about 30 patients can be adequately cared for at a time. And while early indications are that Omicron may be milder than Delta, the more people who catch it, the greater the likelihood more people will end up in hospital. And on top of all of that, Delta is still not done with us.
As has been indicated many times by our health professionals, THE major concern has been and will continue to be keeping the number of people who will require care at the hospital to a level where hospital staff can cope. At this point, after 2 years of intense stress, the issue is no longer solely about the number of patients who require care. It’s about the number of frontline staff who will require care because of burnout and mental illness.
At this point, it’s clear that we’ve got a bumpy ride ahead. We can do much more than hope, pray and follow the protocols.
Those of us who’ve not yet done so, should seriously consider getting vaccinated. That’s THE most effective way we can live our lives without fear of COVID-19 putting us in hospital or stealing our lives.
The severity and impact of a 5th Wave depends ENTIRELY on how we conduct ourselves in the coming days, weeks and months. We know what we MUST do and what we MUST NOT do.
We know that one of the easiest ways to get Covid-19 is by taking part in mass crowd events. So let’s stay away from these activities.
We know we can have Covid and not show symptoms. So let’s protect our friends, loved ones and co-workers by wearing our masks and staying at least 6 feet apart from each other, especially when we are in confined spaces.
There’s a lot that’s riding on our support. We need to get ALL of our children back to school next week. Remember them? Remember the stress of on-line learning and the inadequacy of learning devices?
All of us need to return to work so we can feed and clothe our families, pay our car loans and mortgages, and generally, pursue our dreams.
We need to relieve our children of the enormous debt burden created by spending on COVID-19. Think of the many other things that can be done with the $$$millions now devoted to Covid-19.
It’s all up to us. We can easily make curfews and home confinement things of the past. All we need to do is show that we care for ourselves, our loved ones and our country.