Prevention against Coronavirus spreading throughout the community is now the main focus of the Ministry of Health in the wake of the disclosure that the Territory now has two cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). An additional confirmed case was announced on 29 March together with fresh data: 52 person tested;  negative cases (up to 29 March) 49; deaths 0; 143 quarantined persons.

The confirmation of the two cases was made on 25 March during a broadcast by His Excellency Governor Augustus Jaspert, Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie, and Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Carvin Malone.

In making the announcement Hon. Fahie explained that Patient A is a 56-year-old male who arrived at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport on 15 March after travelling to Europe. He is said to have exhibited mild symptoms which resulted in his quarantine.

The second case or Patient B is said to be a 32-year-old male resident who travelled recently from New York and came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on 8 March. It was noted that he arrived in the Territory on 10 March.

Hon. Fahie explained that there is no relation or correlation between the two confirmed cases and he mentioned that both test samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Emergency Agency (CARPHA) for testing and the results returned on 25 March.

In the wake of the positive tests, Hon. Fahie mentioned that “shame” and “stigma” should be thrown out the window as persons take measures to keep themselves and the community safe.

Time for More Preparation

The announcement of the cases of the Coronavirus came hours after Hon. Fahie reported that Cabinet had reduced the recommended number for large gatherings from 30 to 20.

In making that announcement the Premier stated on Tuesday, “Now we have reduced the mass gathering down to 20 and we are asking persons to understand that we are doing this in the best interest of all to save lives.”

A big reason why prevention has to go on overdrive to minimize further cases is the mention that a mathematical model shown to government members displays grim numbers of how detrimental the spread of the virus can be in our small Territory.

The Premier’s reference of the model was made during a press conference held on 24 March.

On 18 March Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Hon. Vincent Wheatley disclosed that the model paints a grim picture and is a real incentive for preventative measures to be adhered to.  Hon. Wheatley in a Facebook post said, “Models show that by the time a person starts to show signs of Coronavirus, up to 50 other persons would have already been infected. Every 3 days the total number of persons infected is doubled. In our small population we would be totally overwhelmed in a matter of weeks.”

Hon. Wheatley said, “Modeling suggests that with minimal containment and under ideal conditions, one confirmed case of COVID-19 could lead to the infection of 4000 persons in four weeks.”