The Ministry of Health, on Tuesday, said it was unable to give “at this time” the number of COVID-19 cases in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that are not linked to a cluster.
The minister has rejected the “community transmission” label, saying that the situation in the country does not meet the World Health Organisation definition.
As of Wednesday, SVG had confirmed 827 cases of COVID-19, of which 686 are local without recent travel history, all detected during a spike that began in late December.
The country confirmed 29 cases on Wednesday, 35 on Tuesday, and 17 on Monday.
Two persons with COVID-19 have died and 174 patients have recovered from the viral illness.
And while the ministry no longer says that those local cases are “under investigation”, it had been using that phraseology until Jan. 22 when the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) suddenly dropped it from its daily bulletin without offer of an explanation.
Earlier this month, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, said that her ministry was able to link most of the local cases to clusters.
She, however, admitted that health officials have not been able to link some of the cases to clusters.
This raises questions about where those persons might have contracted the illness, and whether COVID-19 is, in fact, circulating within the country or within certain communities.
During Tuesday’s press conference, iWitness News asked the Ministry of Health if it had “established any links between or among the clusters and how many cases have not been linked to a cluster”.
“We have cases without links. We have identified some links between some of the clusters and we are still investigating those persons who we have not identified as having a link to any particular cluster,” Keizer-Beache said.
“We have had clusters in churches, in work places and as you can imagine, two persons working in a house or going to a church, will come from many different areas, many different families,” the chief medical officer further stated.
“And so that’s how you are linking. So I go to this government workplace and I go home, persons in my home, my close contacts become positive, they go to another workplace or another site and therefore you have transmission along that line. But, to give you exact figures at this point, we will not be able to do that at this time,” Keizer-Beache said.