St Vincent and the Grenadines is facing the major challenge of controlling the spread of the coronavirus in its emergency shelters which are housing evacuees displaced by the eruption of La Soufriere volcano.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache stated on NBC Radio on May 3, that access in and out of the Stubbs and Biabou emergency shelters has been shutdown in order to contain the spread of the virus.
She said they have instituted areas of quarantine, isolation and testing on a five-day cycle to pick up new positives.
It was noted that on April 30 the virus figures were particularly worrying, as from the 18 new positive cases recorded, 16 were from emergency shelters.
The CMO said 14 were from two shelters and two are persons who were in a private home/shelter which they were renting.
It was further stated that on April 27 there were only 11 reported cases in shelters which meant that in three days, the number of positive cases went from 11 to 32 cases in total in shelters.
The CMO said even though they continue to stress for COVID-19 testing in shelters, the authorities have been getting a lot of resistance from persons refusing to be tested.
Keizer-Beache said they have had persons who were not willing to take a COVID-19 test and opted to leave the shelter on their own.
The COVID-19 protocols for shelters have now been updated. Persons who want to be transferred from one emergency shelter to another are now being requested to take a COVID-19 test.
Workers in shelters are also being asked to be tested randomly every 5 to 7 days for their protection and those staying in the shelters.
The CMO noted that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 14,526 persons have received the vaccine.
Meanwhile, in its report for May 4, the Ministry of Health says no new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from two 215 samples processed on May 3.
Two new recoveries were noted over the reporting period. One hundred and thirty-eight cases are currently active and 11 persons with COVID-19 have died.
Since March last year, 1,882 cases of COVID-19 and 1,733 recoveries have been recorded in St Vincent and the Grenadines.