Statement by Minister of Health Dr Irving McIntyre on 3 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment has announced that since their last update on Wednesday, October 21, an additional 3 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, which brings Dominica to a total of 38 confirmed cases of which 9 are active. These 3 additional cases have been recorded over the past 7 days. The Ministry is concerned that the public has a relaxed approach to the COVID- 19 pandemic and to a great extent, is letting down their guards.

We recognize that we are in a festive season, celebrating our Independence, and several mass gatherings have been planned, however, based on the protocols which have been outlined by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, community transmission could be eminent if these protocols are not complied with. Do you know why COVID-19 is spreading fast in many countries? It is because people are not complying with the wearing of masks and physical distancing at work and are not sanitizing properly. Persons are not enforcing the use of masks by relatives and friends coming to their homes, or when hanging out with close friends at bars and crowded or enclosed places.

We must all be reminded that COVID-19 is transmitted by respiratory droplets. These droplets are expelled into the air when we breathe, sneeze, cough, talk and sing-and they settle on surfaces that we make contact with, then we touch our eyes, nose and mouths- the Points of Entry for the virus.

The proven ways to protect yourself from this virus are to: wash hands frequently with soap and water, practice respiratory etiquette, use masks, sanitize frequently touched surfaces and practice physical distancing. I also wish to inform that the Ministry of Health will commence its second round of the community testing surveillance initiative this weekend in the Castle Bruce, Marigot and Roseau Health Districts while the other four health districts of Grandbay, St. Joseph, Laplaine and Portsmouth will be done the following weekend. The first community testing initiative was done during May and June this year.

Everyone is encouraged to participate fully in this community testing initiative. This is the only way we are able to monitor what is happening in the community.

So far, Dominica has had a commendable track record in the battle against COVID-19, with zero deaths and no one requiring critical care. This is largely related to the efforts of the Government of Dominica, the Ministry of Health’s prompt and strategic response to COVID-19 and the numerous health care professionals and others on the front line.

However, the fight is far from over and the risks continue to exist. We implore you to do all in your power to protect the most vulnerable by complying with all of the protocols that the Ministry of Health has been promoting: wear masks, wash hands, sanitize surfaces, physical distance, boost immune system by eating healthy foods, keep informed about the latest updates and encourage and empower others to do the same. For us to continue to be effective with our fight against COVID-19, the country needs you to play your part. I need you to play your part, please!

Let us do this together. In the days ahead I shall convene meetings with the churches, private sector entities, school principals, entertainers, among others, to review our efforts to inform and educate the public.

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