Asymptomatic Covid-19 patient discovered 1 month after airport closed

by Linda Straker

  • 18 positive cases since first case was confirmed and publicly disclosed on 22 March
  • 50-year-old female confirmed Covid-19 case is an asymptomatic carrier
  • 2 other cases found through contact tracing

Almost one month after shutting down the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) to commercial passenger traffic, Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, has confirmed that 1 of the 3 latest confirmed Covid-19 cases is an asymptomatic carrier who, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, must be classified as an imported case.

The WHO guidelines state that an imported case is when a person travels to another country with the infection and is tested with a positive result in that country.

As of Saturday, 25 April 2020, Steele said the country’s total number of positive cases was 18 since the first case was confirmed and publicly disclosed on 22 March. Only 17 are on island, as one of the cases returned to the United Kingdom without medical permission.

In a Saturday news conference, Steele explained that 7 persons have been medically cleared and classified as recovered, while 7 others are active. The 3 new cases are described as stabilised with mild or no symptoms.

The asymptomatic imported case is a 50-year-old female who came from one of the international hotspots or epicentres with the virus. “She is an import-related case, and, is what is known as an asymptomatic carrier. She has displayed no symptoms to date,” Steele said. He explained that the individual had remained in quarantine for the required period of 14 days but decided to be tested to confirm her medical status because of the location from which she travelled.

The other 2 new individuals are males ages 62 and 59. They were found through contact tracing in the workplace of case number 15 – which is a possible community transmission because he has no recent travel history and was not associated with any of the previously confirmed cases.

Sharing details of the work being done by the medical team working to trace all those who may have interacted with confirmed patients, Steele said the team continues to aggressively pursue any and all possible contacts of positive individuals. “In the last week, they have concentrated their efforts on several areas, including the residential community of the 15th case, and his workplace, which has become a focal point of the investigation.”

So far health officials have conducted approximately 175 PCR tests, and in excess of 1,000 rapid tests, across different sectors of the population.

Dr Francis Martin, Acting Chief Medical Officer, said that all persons seeking medical attention at the casualty department especially if they are displaying flu-like symptoms are being tested for Covid-19.

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