COVID•19 infections rise steadily on islands

The number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and hospital admissions in the Dutch Caribbean has been increasing steadily, mostly due to the Delta vari­ant, with the vast majority of the cases being reported in Curacao and Aruba.

Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM stated in its weekly overview of the situation in the Carib­bean part of the Kingdom that the measures that have been taken on the different islands to curb an increase of COVID-19 are “insufficient to prevent this worrying in­crease.”

Referring specifically to Aruba and Curacao, RIVM concluded that the higher number of persons testing positive for the coronavirus was most probably related to the summer tourist season, which is currently at its peak which results in a higher so­cial interaction.

RIVM indicated in its re­port that in Curacao, 236 people per 100,000 inhab­itants received a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result last week, a decrease com­pared to a week earlier — 295/I00,000 on July 28. The Delta variant has a share of approximately 93 per cent in germination surveillance and the B.I.62I variant, common in Colombia, 7 per cent.

In Aruba, 382 persons per 100,000 inhabitants received a positive test result last week, a large increase com­pared to the previous week when the figure stood at 183/I00,000. “The numbers increase as the Delta variant dominates,” stated RIVM.

In St. Maarten, the num­ber of COVID-I9 cases has been rising as well. In the past week, 169 persons per 100,000 inhabitants tested positive, which is more than the 77 per 100,000 on July 28. The Alpha and Delta variant dominate. About 35 per cent of the adult population in St. Maarten is fully vaccinated, which is the lowest in the Dutch Kingdom. Up until August 2, in total 2I,673 per­sons ages 12 and up had been fully vaccinated.

Last week, there were I3 hospital admissions, while this number was only two in the week before. Accord­ing to RIVM, this increase is partly due to a small out­break in St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC) itself. Most patients have relatively light symptoms.

In Bonaire, the downward trend of active COVID-I9 cases continued with 43 per­sons per I00,000 inhabitants. Many of the new cases concern tourists. The Delta vari­ant was found in 94 per cent of the registered cases. Saba registered a first new case on August 3. The person had come from the Netherlands and tested positive at the end of quarantine. This per­son had received the Janssen vaccine more than two weeks prior to travelling to Saba.

While the vast majority of the persons who tested posi­tive on the islands is not vac­cinated, a number of persons who have been vaccinated at least once did get infected with the coronavirus. RIVM did not mention St. Maarten in this regard, but it did give some figures from Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

Of the 22 people admitted to Curacao Medical Centre (CMC) between July 22 and August 1, only one person was fully vaccinated. To date, 79 SARS-CoV-2 infections acquired at least I4 days af­ter the first vaccination have been reported in Curacao. Of these vaccinated cases, 43 per cent were reported among individuals ages 65 and over.

In Aruba, so far, 23 CO­VID-I9 infections have been reported among persons who got ill more than 14 days af­ter their first vaccination. Of this group, I3 per cent is 65 years and older. In Bonaire, so far, 1I persons tested posi­tive more than 14 days after their first vaccination, includ­ing one person living at the old age home.

The vaccination of young­sters between the ages of I2 and I7, is now taking place on all islands. In St. Eustatius and Saba, the youngsters re­ceive the Moderna vaccine, and in the other four islands the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine.

The Daily Herald.

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