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COVID-19 and Metapneumovirus in Circulation

Officials from the Ministry of Health and Social Services revealed last week that the recent outbreak of gastroenteritis was caused by Norovirus. Cases of COVID-19 and the flu are also on the increase and caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus and Metapneumovirus respectively, a release from the ministry stated.

Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake indicated that over the past few weeks the Ministry grappled with record numbers of cases of vomiting and diarrhea.

“The Norovirus outbreak was seen primarily in children and their care givers, and we saw a number of hospitalizations due to dehydration. Thankfully cases are now on the decline. However, we should not drop our guard as health threats continue to emerge,” the director said.

Ministry officials further stated that the rise in the SARS-Cov-2 virus and Metapneumovirus coincided with the influx of visitors to island and the St. Patrick’s festivities providing the conditions for the viruses to easily spread. They also reminded the public that while most infected persons are expected to make a full recovery in 3 to 7 days, there may be severe and life-threatening complications: particularly with COVID- 19.

All efforts should therefore be made to decrease risk of infection especially in high-risk populations such as the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions. Frequent handwashing and sanitization of high touch surfaces is recommended as well as avoiding close contact with persons showing signs of infection.

Anyone who is severely ill should visit the closest Health Centre or personal doctor for medical attention and sick leave as appropriate.

The Ministry also wishes to remind the public that quarantine, isolation and facial coverings are no longer mandated. However, masks are required when visiting the Health Centres, Glendon Hospital, Margetson Memorial and Golden Years Homes.