Minister of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Dr Irving McIntyre, has informed the Dominican public that more restrictive measures regarding public events and gatherings may be implemented.
The minister’s statement has come in the wake of the discovery of two more recently-confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus on the island, this time, in the community of Portsmouth.
It was reported that on July 28th 2021, one client accompanied by two friends presented with flu like symptoms and was examined at the Reginald Fitzroy Armour Hospital where rapid antigen tests were conducted. Two out of the three rapid test results were positive. The two were admitted to the St. James COVID-19 isolation unit.
“It is also noticeable that to a very large extent, we have let our guards down. In view of the present scenario and the possible outcome, we are urging the general public to revert to the public health and social measures such as the wearing of face masks, washing of hands, sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces and workplaces, proper respiratory etiquette, physical distancing and most importantly avoidance of public events and gatherings,” the health minister said in a statement.
Dr. McIntyre reported that in view of these two new cases, the Emergency Health Operating Center was activated to identify primary and secondary contacts who were then swabbed using PCR and Rapid antigen testing. He said all primary contacts were transferred to the government quarantine facility as per normal protocols.
To date, 29 primary contacts have been tested using both antigen and PCR testing. Three rapid antigen tests were positive and PCR test results are pending. Twelve secondary contacts were also identified for whom rapid antigen testing was carried out of which eleven were negative.
According to the health minister, over the upcoming days, contact tracing activities will continue as well as further testing in the community.
He also said that based on information received so far from positive cases and primary contacts, it is most likely that these new cases are related to illegal entry.
McIntyre noted that neither of the two positive cases were vaccinated which he states “underscores the importance of being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.”
“Vaccines continue to be available at all type 3, health centers in all seven health districts at no cost to the general public,” he pointed out. “Therefore, I encourage all those who have not been vaccinated to visit the health centers closest to you for your vaccine.”
Persons experiencing flu-like symptoms are encouraged to call the covid-19 hotline numbers for further instructions. The numbers are 448-2151, 448-2153, 448-2156 and 6114325.
The emergence earlier this month of 12 new Covid-19 cases among Grand Fond residents- all stemming from six travelers who came from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on July 6 – resulted in a seven-day lockdown being placed on the community.
“We have been through similar situations in the past, most recently in Grand Fond. The containment of this pandemic remains our primary focus. The Ministry of Health promises to continue working towards ensuring the safety of all,” Dr. McIntyre said.
Due to the latest COVID-19 cases in Portsmouth and the Ministry of Health’s advice for the public to stay away from public events, a number of football matches which were scheduled for the Benjamin Park this weekend have been called off. These include the Promex Harlem United vs Connect 767 East Central which was scheduled for today, Valvoline We United vs LA Stars on Saturday, and Sagicor South East vs Happi Bath Estate carded for Sunday.