St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded 86 cases of COVID-19 this weekend, eight of which health officials have classified as imported.
With 86 cases detected since Friday, the country has now recorded 951 cases of the viral illness since March 2020.
The figure includes 802 “local cases” — persons in the country with no recent travel history who have contracted the respiratory illness since late December.
Two of these persons have died.
On Sunday, the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said that “many” of the local cases are linked as contacts of known positives.
This represents a subtle but significant change in the language from one day earlier, when NEMO said “the majority” of local cases are linked as contacts of known positives.
Health officials have maintained that the COVID-19 situation in the country does not meet the World Health Organisation definition of “community transmission”.
However, many citizens have concluded that that is the reality and have dismissed the government’s explanation as semantics.
NEMO said that the 50 cases confirmed on Sunday are from samples collected between Jan. 16 to 30.
This means that some patients have had to wait for more than two weeks to know whether they are positive for COVID-19.
iWitness News has independently verified that some of COVID-19 patients have been sent home, although their residences are unsuitable for isolation, and other members of their households have since contracted the virus.
Of the 50 cases, six are travellers who entered SVG and tested positive during their 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
All of the other cases were detected during contact tracing and testing of persons with flu symptoms, NEMO said.
The total number of recoveries remained unchanged on Sunday — at 251 — as there were no new recoveries recorded in the day under review.
NEMO said that 698 cases remain active.
Meanwhile, the five cases detected on Saturday included two travellers from Canada and Nigeria who tested positive during their 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
The other cases were detected during health facility entry screening and exit screening – persons testing before travel.
All of the 31 cases recorded on Friday were detected during contact tracing, testing at flu clinics and exit screening.
NEMO is reminding all residents of and visitors to SVG of the importance of consistently wearing facial coverings, practicing physical distancing and the frequent hand washing or sanitization.
“Business establishments such as ‘rum’ shops, supermarkets, department stores and other private sector establishments are also reminded of the importance of enforcing these measures to protect your staff and clients,” NEMO said.
It said that such measures will reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading in these establishments and the subsequent negative impacts on business.