The government plans to do more community-based screening in order to assess the COVID-19 data at the community level.
Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre made the disclosure while announcing an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the island.
He spoke to state-owned DBS Radio on Thursday.
At the last Ministry of Health press briefing on COVID-19 held on September 16, 2020, Coordinator of the Reopening of Borders Program, Dr. Laura Esprit, reported one additional case of the virus which took the total number of active COVID-19 cases to four and the number of confirmed cases overall, to 25.
Since then, based on Dr. McIntyre’s statement to DBS, as of September 24th, 2020, five new cases of the virus have been discovered in the country and the total number of recorded COVID-19 cases now stands at 30.
However, according to the Health Minister, twenty-four of these cases have fully recovered and 6 are at the COVID Centre. He said five of the active cases are asymptomatic and only one has mild symptoms.
For the most recent cases, eighty-seven (87) contacts were identified. Only three (3) of those contacts tested positive, meaning that ninety-six percent (96%) tested negative.
Dr. McIntyre described the country’s positivity rate of .96 percent (out of 100 tested, less than one is positive) as “the ideal position to be in,” adding, “It is among the lowest in the world.”
He went on to say that the technical issues have been rectified with regard to pre-arrival screening.
The minister revealed that the ages of infected individuals range from 2 years to 59 years with the median age being 33 years. The male to female ratio is one.
“The majority of these cases are imported,” he noted.
“At this time, the reproductive rate of COVID-19 in Dominica is zero; that means, there is zero community spread,” he explained.
However, according to the Ministry of Health, this does not mean “that we have to let down our guard.”
“Consequently, we plan to engage in community-based screening again in order to assess the COVID-19 status at the community level,” Dr. McIntyre stated. “The details will be made available soon.”
The Ministry solicits the cooperation of the general public in that effort.
Dr. McIntyre reminded the public that the best outcome can only be achieved if everyone plays their part.
“We must continue to follow the public health and social measures, such as proper hand washing, physical distancing, wearing of masks and proper respiratory etiquette,” he stressed.
He thanked all the frontline workers and those who have assisted in one way or the other, including those in quarantine.