Hospitals, isolation facilities in Eastern Caribbean overwhelmed with increase of Covid-19 cases and shortage of health workforce and clinical supplies

Doctors and nurses on the frontline

Nearly eight thousand (8000) confirmed new Covid-19 cases have been reported over the last three weeks of September 2021 with a 52% increase from 4231 cases in the month of August 2021 from Barbados and 6 Eastern Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). The increase of cases is largely noted in persons who are unvaccinated (83-95%) for Covid-19. The new reported cases also showed a proportion of the cases, 15-25%, to be children under the age of 18 years old driven by highly transmissible Delta Variant of Concern.

In the last 7 days, the increase in number of cases is led by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (231.8%, representing 282 new cases), and Saint Lucia (36.2%, 872) and Antigua and Barbuda (74.2%). The hospitalization rate increased significantly in the range of 37% in Barbados to 1700% in Grenada in the same period. A 13% case decrease was reported from the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Saint Lucia’s health systems has been recently struggling with oxygen supply as hospitalizations increased by 214% in the last 7 days. The main hospital of the country reports as main challenges: lack of specialist staff, technological and communication issues, increased patient flow as well as oxygen demand, and staff burnout and stress. Similar shortage of clinical supplies including unstable and insufficient oxygen supplies impeded health service delivery in Grenada, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Test positivity rate range as high as 10% in Barbados to 24% in Saint Lucia, as of September 22nd, 2021. This high level of positivity rate suggests that the real number of infected people is higher than what we are seeing.

The COVID-19 new deaths and 7-day moving average continued to increase in new death resulting in 78% increase in Saint Lucia and an average 5 deaths per day as of 16 September. Grenada is also reporting an increase of 25.9% regarding number of deaths (26 new deaths) and 300% increase in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dr. Yitades Gebre, PAHO Representative for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean said “we are observing a situation of community transmission with limited additional capacity to respond and a risk of health services becoming overwhelmed. A larger combination of measures may need to be put in place to limit transmission, manage cases, and ensure epidemic control.” The current epidemiological situation may continue unless stringent measures are in place.

The presence of variant of concern (VOC) is to be considered with the high transmission.  One of the reasons for why variants might emerge are the ‘selection pressures’ brought about by widespread transmission of the virus. The importance of limiting transmission to reduce the risk of the emergence of variants of concerns cannot be overstated.  Variants of concern are known to spread more easily, cause more severe disease, escape the body’s immune response, change clinical presentation, or decrease effectiveness of known tools – public health measures, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

Key drivers of transmission in the area under assessment must be well understood using local surveillance data, and measures should be rapidly re-implemented should incidence increase. A particular focus should be on prevention and early detection of potential superspreading events. Individuals are encouraged to accept covid-19 vaccination when offered and practice preventive measures such as wearing mask in public places, frequent hand hygiene, keeping physical distancing and to avoid crowded spaces.

The Pan American Health Organization continues to provide test kits, and other laboratory supplies, Oxygen Concentrators, and Information Technology equipment. Emergency Medical Teams have been also deployed from Mexico and Spain to Grenada and Dominica respectively.

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  1. Mark
    September 28, 2021

    Damn business, that’s one of the reasons why the US is unable to get a handle on this virus if what you’re claiming is true. Infected individuals should be isolated from the rest of the population in order to limit the spread.
    I believe Dominica is doing the right thing.

  2. make it make sense
    September 28, 2021

    “One of the reasons for why variants might emerge are the ‘selection pressures’ brought about by widespread transmission of the virus.”

    What about the selection pressures brought about by leaky vaccines that prevent infection but do not help the body to fight the virus itself? We know that the oversuse of antibiotics results in the production of more severe bacterial strains through natural selection caused by extensive use of antibiotics espeically when they are not used effectively to completely wipe out the bacteria.

    Viruses are different from “living” organisms like bacteria, mammals etc but they are affected by natural selection in the exact same way so a similar effect can occur:

  3. Mark
    September 27, 2021

    WOW. It has now gotten to this. A medical team has been deployed to Dominica. Totally preventable if we had only done the right thing.
    Hopefully it is not too late to turn this thing around.
    Take the vaccine and live.

  4. It's my damn business
    September 27, 2021

    I will only comment on what’s happening in Dominica.
    In America where I live is people that are sick with covid that go to the hospital and they go on their own free will. The other thing is, they are at a real hospital that was built and designed for sick people.
    In Da Mr Skerrit feels as soon as you test positive, he just grabs you against your will and dumps you in a building that was not designed for sick people, together with people that are symptomatic. In the US many of the people Skerrit has in covid hospital are on the job, in school and living a free life, some vaccinated and some are not.
    I question what I see in DA and wonder if they are on a mission to make more lands available to cbi passport holders. In fact it reminds me of an interview Angelo played many years ago when a foreign journalist ask Skerrit where he is going to put all these people that buying passport. His response was Dominicans are nice. Hope we not too nice and our niceness sending us to our grave

    • BB
      September 28, 2021

      Damn business, your ideas are strictly political, are you really comparing Dominica to the USA? Well Fresh Water Yankee wheel and come again! Plain and simple don’t compare lemon to dasheen.

      • Nonesence
        September 28, 2021

        Well said. BB is full of Crap. Uninformed stay where you are…..We got this without your two pence

      • Nonesence
        September 29, 2021

        This is meant for Damnbusiness I meant well said BB. DAMN INFORMED IS FULL of it Get grant from your US State Rep and come build a spot for them since Covid us here to stay. I agreed with BB you are strictly political. LET us speak of the Covid…..Put politics aside just for now. There are like 45 older people grasping for breath get off your high horse come volunteer. Stop being a Boasta…..

    • Wakanda Forever
      September 28, 2021

      The last place on earth to compare Dominica to is the US. It’s the country that can most afford to manage a pandemic properly yet has done a horrendous job of it. Pick almost any other place in the world, including Dominica, and up until Delta, they were managing the pandemic better than America. Even now, considering the vast differences in resources, we’re not doing as badly as certain states. How many emergency medical teams were sent to southern states in the last 2 months again?

      You’re right when you say that people there are living a free life not caring what they catch or transmit. So-called freedom, better known as individualism-gone-mad, is literally killing people, including schoolkids, whose country could easily afford to keep them safe. Come again with that comparison.

      October 1, 2021

      Damn Business….. why dont you call Senator Manchin and the other Democratic senators and ask them to sign the bill for infraustructure. Instead of hurting your poor people. Go have a Demonstration since you want to come here and tell us what to do….Your assignment. You all guys have your share of problems also.

  5. Dr Clayton Shillingford
    September 27, 2021

    The Pandemic situation is worsening…The logical answer is to mandate vaccination

    • Ibo France
      September 27, 2021

      Mandatory vaccination tearing these countries apart. It’s too simplistic and divisive an issue.

      What I’ve come to realise is that the medical authorities always downplay the number of vaccinated people who become infected or die from the coronavirus.

      Israel would have been Covid free if taking the vaccine was the silver bullet for the virus. Your solution is much too simplistic.

      • Readwell
        September 28, 2021

        Ibo France. The Israel situation is not as simple as it appears.
        Here are some of the reasons for Israel’s problem which you are probably not aware of.
        1. Israel has a young population and many 12-20 years old refused to take the vaccine so their fully vaccinated rate was just about 58% when the problem happened.
        2. Many went away on vacation and brought the variant back. Variants are more likely to happen among the unvaccinated. The country was not prepared.
        3. Many of the vaccinated in hospitals are over 60 with co-morbidities.
        4. Lastly many say the country opened up too soon whilst some vaccinated people had not achieve immunity as yet. This usually takes about 2 weeks post vaccine. That was a perfect storm.

    • Vax is creating variants
      September 28, 2021

      Mandate it for who! High risk groups only? One shoe does not fit all!!

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