Dominica government announces revised COVID-19 isolation and quarantine protocol

As it seeks to improve public health and social safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Dominica has announced a revised isolation and quarantine protocol for the management of the dreaded virus.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson made the announcement while addressing a press briefing on Wednesday night.

According to him, the revised isolation and quarantine protocol took effect on  Monday, January 10th 2022.

“We have recently conducted a situation analysis, our data shows that approximately 70% of the patients who have been admitted to the COVID Care Complex in Portsmouth were either asymptomatic or were admitted with mild to moderate symptoms,” he said.  “These patients seldom develop severe symptoms which would require hospitalized treatment.”

Dr. Johnson continued, “In the revised isolation and quarantine protocol, we defined a Covid-19 positive case as any patient whether the person is symptomatic or asymptomatic with a positive rapid antigen test for SARS Covid-19 or done by a PCR test issued by the Ministry of Health and Wellness or other approved facility.”

He went on to highlight some of the major changes.

“Vaccinated clients who are asymptomatic will be allowed to isolate at home, and this is not a significant change,” Dr. Johnson stated. “However, vaccinated patients who are symptomatic will require an assessment by a health professional approved by the Ministry of Health to determine the need for admission based on the clinical presentation and findings.”

In the case of unvaccinated patients who are asymptomatic, Dr. Johnson said these patients will be allowed to isolate at home.

“A red band will be placed on the wrist as it’s currently being done for vaccinated cases. Symptomatic cases will be admitted to the Covid Care Complex or the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital as the case applies,” he explained.

Dr. Johnson mentioned the following categories of positive cases, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, that will be referred for admission by the medical professionals .

“This is new,” he revealed. “Individuals who are aged 55 years and older with chronic medical conditions or individuals with underlying medical conditions, individuals defined to pose risk of breaking home isolation protocol if sent home.”

He added, “All of these individuals described above are eligible for admission after being assessed by a medical professional approved by the Ministry of Health.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Johnson pointed out that as of January 11th, 2022 the total number of individuals vaccinated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Dominica stands at 30,953 which accounts for 58.1% of the target population.

“As of yesterday [Tuesday  11th January ], 28, 671 persons are fully vaccinated which accounts for 53.8% of the target population or just around 40% (39.7%) of the general population.

He said during the last 7 days there has been an average of 72 Covid positive cases per day and as of 8:00AM on January 12th 2022, there were 504 active cases and the death remains at 47.

“We are pleased that the Covid-19 positive rates have decreased significantly in two communities where we have seen a cluster of cases over the Christmas holidays,” Dr. Johnson stated. “However, we remain concerned and are closely monitoring the situation in another health district where the positivity rate has moved from 65% at the end of December 2021 to 17% for the weekend on January 8th 2022.”

The Chief Medical Officer explained that this could be a result of more aggressive testing in that health district, “but it is too early to tell. However, we know that many of us have dropped our guards over the Christmas holidays.”

The most recent COVID-19 statistics released by the Ministry of Health, put the number of active cases at 607 as at Wednesday, 12 January 2022.

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