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HomeNewsLocal NewsMOH Implementing New Recommendations To Aid in COVID-19 Fight

MOH Implementing New Recommendations To Aid in COVID-19 Fight

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The Ministry of Health is working on relieving the load from the third wave of COVID-19 spread in the Federation by implementing new interventions to address COVID-19.

In September 2021, it was reported that there was a delay in reporting cases and the returning of COVID19 results causing a backlog at the three labs on St. Kitts.

Minister of Health, Akilah Byron-Nisbett, said that the ministry is actively working to alleviate this backlog.

St. Kitts will be regaining the services of the Joseph N France General Hospital’s laboratory as it has been revalidated for processing COVID-19 tests.

With the addition of JNF’s lab, the capacity for testing increases to approximately 300-500 tests daily, inclusive of the other three labs, Avalon, NextGen and QDL.

Although the capacity for testing is growing in the Federation, the capabilities still fall short of servicing the demand. The ministry is looking to send samples overseas for processing.

“Now that we are in a situation where our number of samples outweighs capacity that we can accommodate here, we are seeking assistance from the external parties in order for us to be able to run the samples and be able to get results to persons in a timely manner,” said Byron-Nisbett during the September 30 sitting of the National Assembly.

Apart from addressing the testing capacity needs, the Ministry of Health will be addressing three other areas in their COVID-19 procedures, starting with contact tracing.

“The following definitions will now guide the contact tracing exercise. This definition, we will consider a contract to be a person who had any one of the following exposures to a positive case during the two days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of a confirmed case. One, face to face or any direct physical contact with a confirmed case within one meter, and for at least 15 minutes. Two, if you have direct care for a patient with confirmed COVID-19 disease, without the use of the recommended personal protective equipment.”

Fully vaccinated contacts will receive one RT-PCR test seven days after the last contact with a positive case and no tracing of that individual’s contacts. That individual will also be allowed to continue working and other usual activities.

What if you are fully vaccinated and living with a positive case?

“If you are fully vaccinated, and you are living with a positive case, you will test on day seven, and then you will also be tested again when the case is fully recovered.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals, the new recommendation will have them quarantined for 14 days, tested on day fourteen and released upon receipt of a negative result.

In terms of isolations, quarantine and management of cases, the Minister announced that case managers would increase from seven to ten on St. Kitts. The case managers on Nevis will remain at three for now.

On the vaccination front, the appointment system for the rollout of the Pfizer vaccines no longer applies.

“[People] can simply walk into our various clinics during the scheduled hours for vaccination and be vaccinated. I also want to bring to the attention of everyone that our health centres will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays Basseterre, Tabernacle and Old Road will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and all other centres will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. I also want to bring to your attention that we are working closely with the Ministry of Education to determine the schedule for high schools regarding when each class will be accommodated for vaccination.”

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