Access to care at the respiratory clinics

(PRESS RELEASE) – As of April 30, 2020 the World Health Organization reported a total of 3, 018, 681 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with 207, 973 deaths.

There are now 1, 213, 088 confirmed cases in the region of the Americas. The affected region includes Dominican Republic (6,416), Haiti (76), Barbados (80), Jamaica (364), Cuba (1, 437), Dominica (16), Grenada (18), Trinidad and Tobago (116), Guyana (74), Antigua and Barbuda (24), Bahamas (80), Saint Vincent and Grenadines (15), Guadeloupe (149), Martinique (175), Puerto Rico (1,400), US Virgin Islands (59), and Cayman Islands (70).

St. Lucia to date has recorded 17 cases of COVID-19 with 15 of these cases recovered. The most recent two cases were diagnosed on Wednesday, April 29 and are both isolated for care and doing well. The Ministry of Health’s public health teams continue efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 among our population. To be successful in doing this the support of everyone is solicited in ensuring that persons experiencing respiratory symptoms including fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, difficulty breathing as well as loss of smell or taste seek care in a timely manner.

As part of efforts to strengthen readiness to respond to the threat of COVID-19 respiratory clinics have been established around the island. These clinics allow for the early identification, testing, isolation and treatment of cases of COVID-19.

Anyone found to satisfy the COVID-19 case definition is placed in isolation, pending the laboratory results, as part of the Ministry’s precautions to prevent possible spread of the infection. Persons whose results return positive will be kept in isolation for care at the respiratory hospital, formerly the Victoria Hospital, until their recovery.

To date, the Ministry of Health’s data indicates that the services of these clinics are largely being accessed by the female segment of our population. We encourage men who may be feeling symptomatic to also seek care early as this can prevent worsening of conditions or possible complications. Services delivered through all respiratory clinics island-wide are free to the public. If further information is required on this service, the public may call the 311 hotline. The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to provide the public with regular updates on COVID-19.

In the interim, we encourage everyone to maintain the recommended hygiene measures:

– wash hands frequently with soap and flowing water
– use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol where soap and water are not available
– cover coughs or sneezes with the inner elbow, or a tissue and after throw the tissue into a bin and wash hands
– use a cloth mask when going into public; do not share these masks with others and wash them daily

Together, through these actions, we shall be able to reduce the threat of COVID-19.

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