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HomeNewsLocal NewsRisk assessment; a guide towards living with COVID-19

Risk assessment; a guide towards living with COVID-19

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by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis(WINN): “Are we ready now to live with COVID, and move forward with a sense of normalcy?” That was the question asked by Dr Cameron Wilkinson during his presentation at the COVID-19 Press Briefing on Wednesday, February 9.

Over the past week, health officials in St.Kitts and Nevis shared scientific developments which suggest that herd immunity is no longer a goal in the fight against COVID.

Wilkinson, the Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N France General Hospital alluded to the fact that we have been fighting the threat from COVID 19 for over two years and many are weary with the extent to which the virus lingers.

Wilkinson shared the stark reality that COVID-19 will continue to have a presence in our communities for some time to come, so people must learn to live with the virus.

“When we say we have to learn to live with COVID, it means that we will have to move forward with our everyday life, accepting a certain level of risk the virus poses re-disease and deaths caused. It comes down to how much disease and deaths we are willing to tolerate. If we all play our part in this fight, we should be able to keep the viral transmission rate very low, the number of hospitalised patients low, and our death rate as close to zero as we navigate our way towards normalcy.”

Doctor Wilkinson in addition, posed some very important questions to think about as we move forward with the virus.

“What would be considered an acceptable number of COVID-19 deaths in order for us here locally or the world at large to carry on as normal? Are we all willing to play our part in limiting preventable disease and deaths, or will some stand idle and continue to see people die by their irresponsible action or inaction.”

Having recorded 39 COVID-19 deaths in St. Kitts and Nevis, the 39th reported yesterday (February 9), Wilkinson said “we have had a number of preventable COVID deaths but we should not have anymore. Every life is precious and everyone deserves a lifetime!”

He added therefore that as we move forward learning to live with COVID, individuals must understand that the risk of severe disease and death will not completely come to an end.

“The unprotected and clinically vulnerable, are the groups that will continue to be at greatest risk of death from the virus if not given the best protection available through vaccination. These groups include the frail, the elderly and those with multiple medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease. If they also happen to be unvaccinated they will be placed at a major disadvantage.”

As we attempt to navigate towards a new norm, Doctor Wilkinson said it is important for individuals to calculate their risk and the risk of those with whom we interact. He suggested that individuals make a quick risk assessment of their household, community, the event attending and the mode of transportation before leaving home.

In conducting the risk assessment, he suggested that persons ask themselves some simple questions, like, Do I have persons living with me who are vulnerable? Are they unvaccinated? If I take the virus home to them, would the outcome be disastrous? Is the infection rate in the community climbing?

In terms of venues, Wilkinson said questions should be centred around non-pharmaceutical practices such as social distancing, sanitisation and the wearing of masks. He added that crowd size, duration of the event and the organiser’s knowledge of preventative measures should also be pondered upon. As it relates to transportation, Wilkinson said public transport poses a greater risk for viral transmission.

He, therefore, stressed the importance of personal responsibility as we move forward. This means, adhering to the non-pharmaceutical measures, getting vaccinated and always attempting to limit exposure to the virus.

MAKANA FERRY SCHEDULE

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