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St. Maarten confirms six new cases of COVID-19

In the past 36 hours, St. Maarten has confirmed six new cases of persons who have tested positive for the COVID-19.

The new total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in St. Maarten now stands at 121.

While St. Maarten braces for its first test of severe weather conditions for the 2020 hurricane season, the community also has to face the reality of a rapid spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

According to a press release from Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labour VSA Richard Panneflek, “We now have 42 active cases of persons who have contracted the coronavirus. One new case was confirmed on Monday, July 27, and at four o’clock on Tuesday the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) confirmed five additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the last 24 hours to six.”

Of the active cases, local health authorities are monitoring 40 people on home isolation, one person is still “hospitalised at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and another is isolated in a separate facility,” the release stated.

However, the release also notes that the number of people recovered since the first case surfaced in St. Maarten earlier this year has increased by one to 64. This would mean the number of actual active cases is 41. The Daily Herald’s efforts to clear up this inconsistency last night were unsuccessful.

Also, contrary to what Government press releases keep repeating, none of the COVID-19 patients are held at SMMC’s main building.

To quote a press release issued by the medical centre last Friday, “We would also like to reiterate that while there are two COVID-19 confirmed/suspected patients admitted to SMMC, all COVID-19 care is administered at the Mobile Medical Pavilion (MMP) and ICU Hospitainer located across from SMMC at the basketball and tennis courts of Raoul Illidge Sports Complex.

“SMMC is committed to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all of our patients and staff and will continue to make adjustments as this situation changes.”

Panneflek’s release stated that 189 persons are now in quarantine based on contact-tracing investigations carried out by CPS on persons who may have been in contact with any of the 42 active cases.

In a continued effort to control the spread of the virus, CPS has now tested 151 people at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) and 682 people throughout the community.

Panneflek said, “As the numbers increase for positive cases, CPS continues to actively execute its contact-tracing measures which will likely reveal more cases before the numbers begin to reduce.”

He said there is still a need to ensure absolute safety while we work towards managing the increase in COVID-19 cases. “We cannot stress the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and washing your hands with soap or using proper hand-sanitisers enough. These are the only steps that we as a community can take to ensure that we reduce the spread and flatten the curve as the fight against COVID-19 continues.”

The Daily Herald.

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