Minister of Health Nickolas Steele on Wednesday announced one more laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 bringing Grenada’s total to ten.
In a Coronavirus update to the nation, the minister said the 58-year-old male arrived in Grenada from New York on March 19 and started experiencing symptoms on March 30. He was tested on March 31st.
The Health Minister explained the individual’s symptoms like cough, fever and general weakness. He has been quarantined and being monitored closely. Two other family members in the household were also under quarantine but up to that time were not exhibiting any symptoms. He said the individual was identified through contact tracing by health officials using the manifest of the New York flight.
The minister insisted that health care officials have been “aggressively engaged in contact tracing especially of individuals who arrived in Grenada during the March 16 to March 22 period”.
“Most of our cases found so far arrived in Grenada or are linked to someone that arrived in Grenada during that period; the pattern is similar in several other countries throughout the region”.
He assured that all the individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 so far are all in stable condition and exhibit mild to moderate symptoms.
The minister reported that 35 individuals had been tested up to that time; ten tested positive and one result is pending. He indicated that with the increasing number of cases, CARPA has been working with Grenada and the rest of the region to deliver results in as timely a manner as possible, all cases have been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
He added that the health care team is sparing no efforts in ascertaining the possibility of community spread in Grenada and will continue to rigorously enforce quarantine and isolation measures as several entire households are under quarantine and the minister has asked the Royal Grenada Police Force to further tighten their surveillance to rigidly ensure that persons observe the regulations.
In a related matter, Minister Steele confirmed that a person that had tested positive left Grenada on the same day that the confirmation was announced before he got his results and flew to the United Kingdom. The individual was tested on Sunday, March 26, the results came back on March 28th and as per procedure, health officials tried to reach him minutes later to inform him that he had tested for COVID-19.
“As a minister, I went ahead and announced the case to the nation as I have always been doing, the individual was neither found on Saturday nor Sunday. On Sunday health officials reported the matter to the police and it was later confirmed that the individual and his family have left the island aboard Air Canada before he received his results on Saturday”.
This, the minister indicated is troubling in many ways, especially because of the level of exposure between his place of residence in Grenada and his address in the United Kingdom.
According to Minister Steele, it is a level of dishonesty and recklessness such that we don’t need at this time, noting that it cannot be stressed enough that lives are already at stake without the added risks.
Following international procedures, once someone is tested that person is placed under self-quarantine at their place of residence and monitored by health officials until the test results are obtained and once they test positive but didn’t need medical attention in the hospital, then during that period they are quarantined at home and constantly monitored for the next fourteen days. This is a standard practice worldwide.
This Steele pointed out calls for a certain degree of honesty, respect and personal responsibility and trust that no one would be so reckless as to knowingly expose others to this deadly disease.
The Health Minister assured the public that the ministry remains vigilant and continues to ask for the public to work with them and more specifically to do their part to contain and curtail the spread of the disease. He said while health officials continued to follow up on possibly exposed individuals they urge the public to inform the Ministry of Health or to their nearest health facility of any individual who displays acute respiratory symptoms especially if they are persons that arrived in Grenada during the period; March 16 to 22 or were exposed to anyone that did.
If persons believe that they are experiencing symptoms of the virus they should never leave their house or use any public transportation but call the health hotline at # 538-4787 or 458- 4787.