St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Saturday, confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases, 18 of which are nationals without a recent travel history.
This bring to 99 the number of cases recorded since Dec. 28 among national without recent travel history, even as a further 400 test results were pending as the local lab seems overwhelmed by the number of test it has to process.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said that all 99 cases are under investigation and health officials have identified five distinct clusters.
However, there are several cases that have not been linked, NEMO said, without giving an exact figure.
Among the persons with no recent travel history who have tested positive for COVID-19 are Minister of National Mobilisation, Orando Brewster, and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frankie Joseph.
“Contact tracing, further linking and testing related to all of these local cases are ongoing,” statement added.
On Saturday, the country also recorded a new case in a national who arrived from the United States on Dec. 10 with a negative PCR test and tested negative on both entry and day 5 quarantine testing.
The adult, however, tested positive on exit screening on Jan. 5.
SVG has now recorded 225 cases of COVID-19 of which 106 persons have recovered and 119 cases remain active.
“All positive cases will continue to be isolated until cleared by two negative tests.
Due to the extensive testing being conducted as part of contact tracing and the screening of persons with flu-like symptoms, there is currently a backlog of approximately 400 COVID-19 tests awaiting analysis,” NEMO siad.
In a separate statement on Saturday, NEMO said that Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment wishes to advise the public that as a result of the ongoing extensive contact tracing and testing for COVID-19, the Molecular Laboratory Unit of the Laboratory Services Programme is currently experiencing a delay in the issuance of COVID-19 PCR test results.
“Persons who have been asked to quarantine or isolate while waiting for COVID-19 PCR results should remain in quarantine or isolation until notified of your results.
Our team is working diligently to resolve the issue. We ask for your patience. Any inconvenience is regretted,” the statement said.
A third statement said that the COVID-19 Task Force will not schedule appointments for sample taking (swab taking) for COVID-19 PCR exit tests if the result is required less than 72 hours after the date of the appointment.
It further said that the Stewards Office of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital will not collect fees for COVID-19 PCR exit test results required less than 72 hours from the date of the appointment.
Further, results for COVID-19 PCR exit tests can only be collected at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital Lab.
Requests for scheduling of COVID-19 PCR exit testing must be made via email to coronavirustaskf[email protected] at least five (days before the required test.