With the fourth wave of COVID-19 cases – the Omicron variant – now under control in St. Kitts and Nevis, several internal protocols will end shortly, said Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital during the NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing on Wednesday, March 02.
“We have passed the surge in COVID-19 cases we experienced in the fourth wave which started on December 24 of last year, we don’t need to be operating in emergency mode anymore now and we will begin to see a significant relaxation of controlled measures internally as we attempt to get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Wilkinson. “Serious cases of deaths remain at an all-time low despite the fact that the virus is still circulating in our community. We now have four confirmed cases in St. Kitts and zero in Nevis and this is great news.”
Dr. Wilkinson added that any positive case that is reported reflects the laboratory-confirmed cases. Therefore, a report of zero laboratory-confirmed cases in Nevis does not mean that the virus has suddenly disappeared from the island.
He noted, however, that there could still be infected persons who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms and once this is the case, they have absolutely no reason to present themselves for testing.
Persons within this category can be unknowingly moving about normally but infectious and they present a serious threat to the clinically vulnerable including people living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the elderly, and people of all ages with underlying health conditions.
“We, therefore, need to maintain our vigilance and not throw caution to the wind as we move forward. Our high threshold of population immunity is what gave us the buffer against the highly contagious Omicron variant and has allowed us to continue with the progressive reopening of all sectors of society,” said the medical chief of staff.
Important to note, Dr. Wilkinson reminded citizens and residents that vaccinations still remain the key strategy for fighting COVID-19 “as we peel back restrictions imposed by the governments. Personal responsibility is now at the core of this fight and I urge you to make the right decision by getting vaccinated.”
He made a clarion call for everyone to continue practicing the non-pharmaceutical measures including the frequent washing of hands and hand sanitizing, social and physical distancing, and wearing masks in public as such measures “still help with the reduction of viral transmission.” He also encouraged the general public to continue to adopt the “COVID-19 appropriate behaviour” in their everyday lives.