Below is a statement from Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre in response to the sudden spike in active COVID cases in Dominica centering around the community of Grandfond.
On July 6, 2021, six (6) travelers arrived in Dominica from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and were quarantined at a Safe in Nature COVID Certified property. At the end of the quarantine period, two travelers (2) tested positive and were admitted to the St James Isolation Unit. The other four travelers who tested negative were re-tested on Day 5, three (3) of whom turned out positive also admitted to the St James Isolation Unit.
Given that all the positive cases were from the Grandfond Community, over the last few days the Ministry of Health has been on the ground in Grand Fond. Swabbing and testing of primary and secondary contacts as well as random testing of residents of the community has been ongoing over the past three days. Additionally, all other persons who were identified as primary and secondary contacts who do not reside in the community have also been tested and quarantined.
On Friday, July 16, thirty two (32) primary contacts were transferred to the Government Quarantine Facility in Portsmouth. Out of these primary contacts, only Two (2) returned positive results. These two individuals were admitted to the St James Isolation Unit and the primary contacts of these two new cases were all identified and swabbed for PCR testing.
Out of an abundance of caution, all primary contacts will remain in quarantine and be re-tested on Day 5.
To date, Seventy One (71) PCR tests and One hundred and Seventy (174) Rapid Antigen Tests have been carried out for primary and secondary contacts from July 16th to today July 18th. Of the 174 Rapid Antigen Tests, only one (1) returned a positive result. The individual was immediately swabbed for PCR testing and placed in Government Quarantine. All contacts for this individual have been identified and contacted.
So as of today total number of active cases stands at twelve (12).
As a precautionary measure, we have decided to take the following measures to minimize the risk of spread in Grand Fond and the wider community:
With immediate effect for the next seven (7) days we are initiating the following actions for the community of Grandfond:
- Limited access in and out of Grandfond to essential travel only such as medical emergencies, delivery of goods, and maintenance of public utilities. Individuals are encouraged to remain within the community and avoid any form of public
- With respect to Public Gathering, all Church Services. Sporting Activities all other Social Activities are suspended in the
- All Bars should be closed and the sale of alcohol will be
- Grocery Shops may remain open with strict adherence to health protocols and will close from 6:00pm
- Individuals who work outside the Grandfond community are encouraged to remain home for the specified
- Residents are reminded to avoid visiting the elderly and homes of other relatives and
- Community Testing will continue and residents are encouraged to volunteer and participate in the ongoing community
With regards to students from Grandfond currently sitting the CXC examinations, special arrangements will be made to facilitate these students with their exams to ensure there is no disruption in their exam schedule.
I must underscore that we have recommended these measures for your safety and that of the wider community. While we believe that the situation is under control and advise against panic, we want to urge everyone to remain diligent and we work together to minimize any spread of COVID-19 as we have done previously. We have been confronted with such scenarios in the past, and we have been successful in bringing each situation under control with the support of the community and the diligence of our frontline workers.
At this juncture I must remind us all across the island to continue to adhere to the basic protocols of handwashing, sanitization, wearing of masks, and physical distancing. The developments over the last few days should remind us that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and remains an ongoing threat.
As such, we should never let down our guard and our adherence to these basic protocols must continue.
I thank the general public for your cooperation thus far for participating in our vaccination efforts and adhering to our public health and social measures. I am also encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as this is still our main defense against COVID-19.
I also take opportunity to thank the dedicated team of Health and other frontline workers who have been diligently carrying out their duties over the last few days and keeping us safe during this pandemic. I want to also thank the residents of the Grandfond Community for their extraordinary cooperation.
Once again, I am pleading to all Dominicans to continue to wear face masks, maintain proper respiratory etiquette with regards to how we sneeze and cough, continue physical distancing, and continue the washing of hands. And yes, those who have not yet taken their vaccines should do so with no further delay – it is in your interest and our interest as a nation.