Data collected by the Ministry of Health do not suggest undetected COVID-19 cases in the country, Minister of Health, Senator Luke Browne said on Wednesday.
“I should say that I had a recent conversation with our surveillance officer and she has advised that there has been no increase, generally speaking, in flu-like symptoms throughout the country,” the Health Minister said.
He was speaking at an event, in Kingstown, where Taiwan donated six thermal imaging devices and 40,000 surgical masks to his ministry.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, 13 cases of COVID-19 had been conformed in SVG and nine results were pending.
Two of the pending results were for medical clearance test to see if a patients had recovered from the disease.
Four patients have recovered from the disease, meaning that there were nine active cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Browne noted that elevated an temperature a sign of COVID-19.
“This is when the body is trying its best to fight off an infection which may have taken place. So we recognise that the screening of body temperatures will be an important tool in our surveillance mechanism,” he said.
He said his ministry is “aggressively looking to track and detect cases and put them in isolation and see how we have to apply quarantine and other public health measures.
“But in general, there is no elevated level of flu-like symptoms. And that is significant. Because if there were an elevated level of flu-like symptoms beyond the usual, it might indicate that there could be undetected COVID-19 cases in the country.
“So we’re not seeing those elevated levels notwithstanding the fact that we are practicing or carrying out enhanced surveillance and that is a good thing.”
He said his ministry has “a multi-pronged testing strategy available right now”.
The standard testing is done through PCR machines, the minister said, adding that this is done, “by and large”, at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) lab in Trinidad and Tobago.
He said this ministry also has rapid test kits.
“We know that rapid test kits come with limitations. We understand those limitations, but they could be useful and they have so far they’ve proven to be useful,” the minister said.