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St Lucia still battling fourth wave of COVID-19


St Lucia still battling fourth wave of COVID-19

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Castries – Health authorities here are warning that with “the high level of community spread” St Lucia is facing a significant task in managing the fourth wave of the  coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has killed 40 people and infected 4 433 positive cases since July 25 this year.

“We have not peaked as yet and continue to note increases from the past week and increases in deaths. To date, from the positive cases diagnosed in country, less than two per cent have been fully vaccinated,” the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said that females account for 60 per cent of the deaths and that the average age of the deaths is 66 years.

“At present, we have 2 567 active cases in country. The daily infection rate for the past week was 67.9 per 100,000 per day and an average of 123.0 cases per day,” it said, noting that in relation to this fourth wave of the pandemic, 52 per cent of those infected since July are in the age group of 25 to 49 years, with 58 per cent being females.

It said that the majority of the COVID-19 cases are from the capital, Castries, as well as the northern areas of Gros-Islet and Babonneau and the southern city of Vieux-Fort.

“Based on contact tracing data, the majority of the cases diagnosed are related to work places and spread between families,” the ministry said, adding that it is continuing to work towards strengthening the public health system and managing the increased COVID-19 cases.

“We are working closely with the Minibus Association and the commercial sector to strengthen measures to reduce transmission at that level. We continue to ask the public to work with us and exhibit responsible behaviour to manage this fourth wave.”

The ministry said that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are available, free of charge, and that “vaccination remains the most effective public health measure in protecting persons from developing COVID-19, its severe forms, complications, hospitalisations and death”.

“These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. We continue to urge the public to access the various sites to get immunised at the soonest. Encourage your family and friends to get immunised so we can all be protected. With the high level of community spread noted in country at this point, we continue to advise the public to remain vigilant,” it added. (CMC)