By Eulana Weekes
St.Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws, during the presentation of the Covid 19 Situation Report, shed some light on the Coronavirus variant Omicron and the effects it could possibly have on the human body. She also used the opportunity to address the situation where persons in the community experiencing flu-like symptoms, diagnose themselves with just a simple flu.
According to Dr. Laws, “a number of persons currently are experiencing Covid-like or flu-like symptoms and these symptoms include feelings of fatigue, or malaise or weakness, some are experiencing chills, feeling extremely cold when everyone else around them feels normal, some complain of fever, lower back pains, general joint pains, muscle aches, come to complain of sore throat, stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and pain behind the eye. The only flu that’s going around right now in the Federation is COVID; so, if you are experiencing these flu-like or COVID -like symptoms, you are probably or more than likely experiencing or you are affected by COVID-19.”
Persons experiencing COVID-like symptoms are required to self-isolate until recovered. The Chief Medical Officer reported that most persons recover between seven to ten days. She, however, urged persons who are not recovering as expected, to seek medical assistance.
Meanwhile, the Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson during the question and answer segment, denounced the idea of false-negative results being returned following a PCR Test. He said, ‘the PCR test is highly sensitive, which means that if you have the Coronavirus multiplying in your nostrils, then the sample is taken, it will pick it up even if you have a very low viral threshold. It is also highly specific, which means that once you’re told you have COVID-19, you do have COVID-19 based on a positive test. However, I have said before that a positive test is as good as the time it was taken and so, you could come now, have a test and test negative and you’re truly negative; and you can leave this room, go outside and pick up the virus and come down with symptoms sometime later on. So, just because you tested negative, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to drop your guard.”
In addition, Dr. Wilkinson said, though the predominant virus responsible for the flu-like symptoms is COVID-19, someone can still have the flu. He also explained that the flu is caused by an influenza-type virus and a person can do testing for that. In contrast, Covid 19 is caused by the Coronavirus and a PCR test is used to detect it. In this regard, if individual tests positive with the PCR test, he or she has the coronavirus and not the flu.