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covid delta variant saint lucia

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Department of Health & Wellness 

August 11, 2021 

Press Release  

Sir Stanislaus James Building Waterfront, Castries 

Saint Lucia, West Indies 

MINISTER FOR HEALTH, WELLNESS AND ELDERLY AFFAIRS SPEAKS ON  THE FIRST CASES OF THE DELTA VARIANT 

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs will take urgent and new actions to manage the surge of COVID-19 cases in Saint Lucia. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs  received notification from the Caribbean Public Health Agency of 6 new cases of Variants of  Concern. I, the Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs have been advised that three of  them are of the Alpha Variant (B.1.1.7) and three are of the Delta Variant (B.1.617.2). These are the  first 3 cases of Delta Variant which has been diagnosed in Saint Lucia. We now note a total of 54  Alpha Variant cases. 

Of the six confirmed cases of the Variants of Concern, two of them are visitors from the United  States. Three of the four local cases are from the south of the island. Only one of the six cases is fully vaccinated. They are all in a stable condition.  

The presence of the Delta Variant in Saint Lucia is of great concern to the Government of Saint  Lucia and the health authorities. The Delta Variant is known to be more contagious, with a much  higher viral load, up to 80% more transmissible than the regular strain. It is also known to affect a  younger population, without underlying health conditions. It causes more severe illness and  hospitalization and deaths. Typically, a small percentage of vaccinated people may get COVID-19  but they are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they contract the Delta Variant. I  am advised that unvaccinated people remain of greatest concern due to their reduced capacity to  fight this virus. The effects are more severe.

Based on the confirmation of the Delta Variant in country, it is even more important that all  recommended public health measures are taken to protect our health and well-being. The public is urged  to get vaccinated at the soonest. The vaccines are available free of charge on a daily basis. Although we  do not mandate vaccination, we encourage the public to follow the science and get the vaccine to keep  themselves and family safe. The Government of Saint Lucia is committed to ensuring that all measures to  strengthen the present system are in place. We have requested and received the vaccination plan to  increase the uptake of the vaccine in communities. Currently, we are in the process of increasing the  testing capacity. We will be receiving the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday next week to widen the options for  vaccines and will continue working to increase the range of available vaccines. The electronic vaccine  passport will be available to the public from August 23, 2021. We are also in discussion with a service  provider to ensure that conditions at the Victoria Respiratory Hospital are improved.  

At this stage in the epidemic, we urge the public to adhere to the new protocols in place. It is imperative  that we take all the necessary precautions and it is imperative that we act urgently to fight the infection,  to prevent the infection and to adopt the control measures which will reduce transmission to ourselves and our families at this time. We know the conditions at the Victoria Hospital need urgent improvements  and we are in discussion to ensure that we add personnel to the Victoria Hospital to ease the pressure that  the medical staff and others face at this time. The Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs will  announce additional actions and measures after Cabinet meets on August 16, 2021.  

As the Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, I urge everyone to take action now. The  government will assist you, the government will assist the institution and we will call new actions to take  place.  

For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at  468-5309/468-5317 respectively 

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Tel (758)468-5300 … (758) 453-1440 … (758) 452-6151 … Fax (758) 452-5655 

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