Dominica’s national epidemiologist, Dr. Shalauddin Ahmed, has disclosed that to date, there are “no reported cases of COVID 19 virus in Dominica.”
He made the announcement at a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health on March 19, 2020, as health officials sought to bring the country up to date with the latest information on its status as it relates to the deadly COVID-19 virus.
“The good news is that there is no reported cases of coronavirus in Dominica, be it suspected or confirmed,” Dr. Ahmed said.
He explained that the surveillance done by the Ministry of Health to detect the coronavirus has the objectives of identification, isolation and counter tracing.
“Since the beginning of coronavirus, that’s in January 2020, we have been looking for patients all over – community, ports of entry etc and we are vigorously looking at the ports of entry and we have screened, quarantined and followed up,” the epidemiologist reported. “Just to tell you that all these cases that we have followed up for a period of 14 days and we have not found signs of any symptoms in those patients.”
He continued, “To date, we have tested 28 patients since starting in February to March 19, 2020, and we have had three cases from our follow up which developed symptoms from our follow up but have been cleared up and don’t have Covid 19.”
According to Dr. Ahmed, they have also been in the communities and have seen people that “we suspect may be deemed as suspects and we isolate them and then we test them, so this process is ongoing.”
Dr. Ahmed also explained that the screening process targets “any patient with flu-like symptoms or [who] has been in contact with someone with the virus.”
He said going forward those with mild fever in the community will be quarantined and isolated for the 14 days.
Dr. Ahmed said that identification and isolation is the key to control the spread of the disease and the Ministry of Health is strongly advocating “social distancing” as much as possible and the avoidance of social gatherings.