ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — The Dominica government has placed a village in the central east coast under lockdown after health authorities confirmed cluster cases and pleaded with citizens to observe the protocols put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health Minister Dr Irvine McIntyre, in a statement, said that on July 6, 2021, six travellers arrived in the island from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and were quarantined at a COVID certified property.
He said at the end of the quarantine period, two of the travellers tested positive and were admitted to the St James Isolation Unit. The other four travellers who tested negative were re-tested on the fifth day.
But he said that three of the travellers tested positive and were also admitted to the St James Isolation Unit.
“Given that all the positive cases were from the Grandfond community, over the last few days the Ministry of Health has been on the ground in Grand Fond. Swabbing and testing of primary and secondary contacts as well as random testing of residents of the community has been ongoing over the past three days.
“Additionally, all other persons who were identified as primary and secondary contacts who do not reside in the community have also been tested and quarantined,” the health minister said, noting that last Friday, 32 primary contacts were transferred to the Government Quarantine Facility in Portsmouth, north of here.
He said that out of these primary contacts, only two returned positive results.
McIntyre said that out of an abundance of caution, all primary contacts will remain in quarantine and will be re-tested.
“To date, 71 PCR tests and 174 Rapid Antigen Tests have been carried out for primary and secondary contacts from July 16 to today. Of the 174 Rapid Antigen Tests, only one returned a positive result. The individual was immediately swabbed for PCR testing and placed in Government Quarantine. All contacts for this individual have been identified and contacted.
“So as of today total number of active cases stands at 12,” he said, noting that as a precautionary measure, several measures are being put in place to minimize the risk of spread in Grand Fond and the wider community:
He said with immediate effect for the next seven days, there will be limited access in and out of Grandfond to essential travel only such as medical emergencies, delivery of goods, and maintenance of public utilities.
“Individuals are encouraged to remain within the community and avoid any form of public gathering. With respect to Public Gathering, all Church Services, sporting activities all other social activities are suspended in the community.”
The government has also said that all bars should be closed and the sale of alcohol will be suspended and that grocery shops may remain open with strict adherence to health protocols and will close from 6:00pm (local time) daily.
“Individuals who work outside the Grandfond community are encouraged to remain home for the specified period. Residents are reminded to avoid visiting the elderly and homes of other relatives and friends. Community testing will continue and residents are encouraged to volunteer and participate in the ongoing community testing.”
The health minister said that with regards to students from Grandfond currently sitting the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations, special arrangements will be made to facilitate these students with their exams to ensure there is no disruption in their exam schedule.
“I must underscore that we have recommended these measures for your safety and that of the wider community. While we believe that the situation is under control and advise against panic, we want to urge everyone to remain diligent and we work together to minimize any spread of COVID-19 as we have done previously.
“We have been confronted with such scenarios in the past, and we have been successful in bringing each situation under control with the support of the community and the diligence of our frontline workers,” McIntyre added.