There is a notable increase in the public’s compliance to directives following the decision of the government to move from a 10-hour to 24-hour curfew, says a report on the COVID-19 situation on Montserrat.
The report, intended for members of the Cabinet, was leaked to the public on Tuesday and gives a snapshot of the island’s situation as of March 30. Montserrat moved to a 24-hour curfew on Saturday after there was limited compliance to the night-time curfew in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19 on island.
To date, five cases of the virus have been confirmed here.
The public had been awaiting the results of the cases which health officials said had been sent off for testing to the Caribbean Public Health Agency laboratory in Trinidad last Saturday.
The report states that “a total of nine samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on Saturday March 28th, 2020. Of that number, three samples returned negative and four are pending. Two samples were rejected by CARPHA for not meeting the case definition of COVID-19.”
It goes on to say that four of the five patients with positive cases are female. It also dispels the belief that only the elderly can get COVID-19, as while two of the patients are over the age of 90, two are within the 40 to 50 age group and one patient is between 20 to 25. Two of the patients have had to be hospitalized. Two of the patients are visitors to the island.
The report also indicates that there are no geographical hot-spots as the patients are from villages across the island.
“The St. Peter’s Clinic [which is serving as a Flu clinic] has recorded 101 patients to date. Monday March 23rd registered the highest number of visitors with 25 persons receiving care, while Thursday March 26th recorded the lowest number of patients with 5 visits recorded. 54% of all patients observed are females. The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) currently has 32 individuals in quarantine. That number consists all household members and close contacts of the infected persons.
Staffing challenges in health care as well as policing is under pressure, as two nurses have been quarantined. There are currently five police officers and one fire officer in self-isolation from exposure to patients with COVID19 or BA2157 passengers. None have tested positive for the virus. One fire officer and three of the police officers are to be reinstated shortly after completing their 14-day isolation, according to the report.
The report noted that there are almost no vehicles or persons on the roads who are not essential workers or have a nexus to the essential services. Compliance shows a positive improvement on Monday 30 as compared with Saturday and Sunday (28/29) as the majority of persons are more educated about the curfew.
There have been seven arrests – four charges and three warnings during the curfew period and up to March 30.
The Ministry of Health is still to make a final announcement on the pending samples and the government on whether additional measures will be necessary.