A total of eight patients have been sampled for COVID-19 testing on Montserrat over the period Thursday March 19 and Saturday March 21, 2020.
This was reported by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) today Monday, March 23, 2020.
Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Dorothea Hazel- Blake stated, “Since the opening of the St. Peter’s “flu clinic” on Thursday 19 March, a total of 33 patients have been assessed at the compound. 21 on Thursday and 12 on Friday. 5 of those patients met the criteria for testing. That is, they were identified as high risk and displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19. Samples were collected from an additional 3 patients as part of the 24- hour COVID-19 Care Service established by the Ministry. All suspected cases are in quarantine while we await the results”.
All eight samples were dispatched to the CARPHA Reference Laboratory on Monday March 23, 2020.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharra Greenaway–Duberry revealed however that future testing may create a challenge as Trinidad & Tobago is closing its borders as of Monday 23rd March. The 8 samples were transported via the Regional Security System (R.S.S) as commercial flights are unavailable. The R. S. S was established in 1982 to counter threats to the national security of the region and provides assistant to Caribbean member states in times of crisis and emergency.
The CMO said, “The unprecedented border closures are creating severe and unexpected challenges, the Ministry is now therefore exploring other options to eliminate them and streamline the diagnostic process; such as building the on island capacity to test.”
In the interim, coordination with the R.S.S will continue to ensure samples are sent for testing.
The Chief Medical Officer also offered an update on the well- being of the island’s first confirmed case. She indicated that the patient remains in isolation and is doing well. She also emphasized the need for the public to continue to adhere to prevention and protection measures.
“Although COVID-19 infections will be mild for most it is important that we protect our vulnerable and those most at risk of severe infection and even death. The highest risk groups include the elderly and persons living with conditions such as asthma and other respiratory ailments, and chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. By practicing good hygiene and social distancing we can drastically decrease the possible rates of infection here in Montserrat,” Dr. Greenaway- Duberry.
A reminder is also issued to the public that all persons experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, dry cough, sneeze, stuffy and runny nose should contact the St. Peter’s clinic by telephone at the following numbers: 491-5436 or 496- 9724. The clinic is opened daily from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. Outside those hours’ persons can receive medical attention by calling the Glendon Hospital Casualty Department at 491-2802 /491-2836/491-2552.