Chief Medical Officer Simone Keizer-Beache says the latest case of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) points to “a possible local transmission, since the individual in question has no known travel history”.
The case, announced by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Tuesday afternoon, brings to 13 the number of COVID-19 cases in SVG, three of whom have recovered from the disease.
iWitness News had contacted Keizer-Beache after the press statement was issued, trying to find out whether the patient had any known travel history.
The CMO said she was not in a position to say whether the latest patient had recent travel history.
“It is under investigation, so I am unable to say,” Keizer-Beache said then.
In a second press statement, issued Tuesday night, NEMO said that the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is advising that there is “no evidence of community transmission relative to COVID-19, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The statement said that since the earlier press release, speculation has been rife, about the origin of this latest case.
“According to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer, ongoing preliminary investigations into the new case point to a possible local transmission, since the individual in question has no known travel history,” NEMO said.
In distinguishing between local and community spread, Keizer-Beache noted that according to CARPHA, “community spread” refers to instances where several people in a community test positive for COVID-19 without any known contact with an imported case.
“Local spread” or a “secondary case” describes a situation where the person was never abroad, but was exposed to an imported case, so that the source of the infection can be identified, NEMO further said, citing the government’s chief advisor on public health matters.
NEMO further stated:
“The CMO notes that the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is cognizant of the need to keep the public aware of every development in respect of COVID-19 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“Dr Keizer Beache is assuring the public that the Ministry, the official source of COVID-19 information in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, remains committed to providing, timely, accurate and relevant information, as we continue to manage this public health challenge together.”
On Tuesday, the CMO told iWitness News that her ministry is not disclosing the sex or age of the nation’s COVID-19 patients.
However, the government has disclosed the sex of at least three patients, and the CMO had disclosed the age range of the first patient.
The positive case on Tuesday, confirmed by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) was the first COVID-19 case for SVG since April 9.
According to the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday,
99 persons in SVG have been tested and seven results are pending.
Thirty-three persons remain in quarantine.