Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of Health has adopted a ‘Life First’ strategy in managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Minister of Health, the Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett, during her presentation to the Federal Parliament on September 30, 2021, spoke to the broad 4-pronged public health approach to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federation.
“In our fight against COVID-19, we have implemented a broad 4-pronged public health approach to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in the Federation. We believe, however, that continued monitoring and evaluation of our response is vital to provide critical data/information to guide our strategic planning and develop appropriate interventions, to allocate and re-allocate resources in better ways. And therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to outline these interventions which include: Contact tracing which is guided by protocols: Isolation, Quarantine and Management of Cases; COVID-19 Testing; COVID-19 Vaccination,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.
With 940 active cases across the Federation as of September 29, 2021, a key component of managing the ongoing pandemic and keeping citizens and residents alike safe has been contact tracing. Minister Byron-Nisbett spoke to the new measures for contract tracing which will be in place for fully vaccinated and the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
“A proper contact tracing history will be ascertained by our contact tracers. We will consider a contact 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: Face to face or any direct physical contact with a confirmed case within one meter and for at least 15 minutes; Direct care for a patient with confirmed COVID-19 disease without the use of recommended personal protective equipment. Given the current state, the Ministry will now implement the new recommendation as follows for fully vaccinated contact. The fully vaccinated contact will receive one RT PCR test to be done seven days post-last contact with the positive case and no tracing of contacts. They will also continue work or usual activity,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.
The new recommendation for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated contact is that they quarantine for 14 days then test on day 14 and be released if negative. As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis continues the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus, vaccination has been a key tool in protecting both citizens and residents alike.