Address of Island Govenor Jonathan Johnson – update Friday, March 27, 2020
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On Wednesday, March 25th, a sample was taken from a person in quarantine who has been experiencing mild symptoms, consistent with COVID-19. We expect the test results for the sample to come back shortly.
Please remember that we must not stigmatize any person on the island at any time but especially during a time like this when it is important that we continue to stand strong as a community. While this person was tested, it was done as a precaution, with the intention of ruling out COVID-19. It is still not suspected that the virus has been introduced to the island.
To help verify this further, a decision has been made that, during the next few weeks, samples will be taken from any person who is displaying symptoms which may correlate to COVID-19, even if they do not have a travel history. The symptoms which must be displayed in order for the test to be taken are a fever of above 38 degrees and coughing or shortness of breath.
This measure has been decided on as a method to further rule out the possibility that COVID-19 is on the island, as there is still no suspicion that the virus has been introduced on Saba. Any person who has been tested will have to go into isolation, and his or her household will be quarantined, until the test results return. One such samples was taken today.
Beginning on Monday, March 30th, persons who have been in quarantine for the 14 day period will be able to start coming out from their homes. On the last day of their quarantine, public health officials will check for fever or other symptoms. If they have any type of symptoms, the quarantine period will be extended.
When persons are no longer in quarantine, they will still have to adhere to all other measures which have been implemented. This includes, practicing social distancing with anyone outside their household, working from home whenever possible, not participating in social gatherings or being in large groups. If a police officer gives instructions to anyone in reference to the preventative measures taken, these instructions must be followed.
People within the same household, who are not in quarantine, are allowed to participate together in outside activities, such as hiking and swimming, but may not socialize with others who are not living in their household. Social distancing is about physical distance. During this age of technology, use your devices to keep in touch with your network, participate in online activities together, provide support for each other and lift spirits when needed.
People who come out of quarantine are able to do so because they have met the requirements which indicate that they do not have COVID-19. I know that many may be worried or concerned about friends or relatives who have been in quarantine or are sick. We need to remember that it is in times like these, that we have to strengthen and support each other. We need to show that when we work together as a community, we become more resilient and can face anything. Therefore, do not stigmatize your neighbors, spread rumors or contribute in any way to making people feel excluded from our community. We are one island and one people and we need to continue to stand together.