Wednesday, 19 January 2022, The Ministry of Health and Social Services today confirmed that the Omicron and Delta variants of the SARS- CoV-2 virus are in circulation on island.
Ministry Officials disclosed that genomic sequencing of samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), identified the variants in this latest outbreak. Officials further stated that multiple samples were tested, including positives imported from various countries and those acquired locally with no travel history. Currently, it is unknown which of the strains is dominant on island. However, officials now have a clearer picture of the local situation.
The Delta variant of the SARs- CoV-2 virus, emerged in December 2020, dominating the global landscape and resulting in a massive surge in hospitalizations and deaths particularly among the unvaccinated.
In November 2021, South African authorities identified the Omicron variant and it is fast becoming the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus globally.
In light of this latest update, the Ministry of Health is repeating the need for continued caution. All residents should wear face coverings in public spaces, preferable high filtration masks such as surgical masks or kn95. Additionally, persons should continue to social distance and practice frequent hand sanitization. It is also imperative that persons exhibiting flu- like symptoms, self- isolate and seek medical attention by calling 496-7437 or 493-4755.
The public is also reminded that the vaccination programme continues. Eligible persons should register by contacting the St. John’s Health Centre at 491-5218. The Pfizer- BioNtech vaccine is available for children over the age of 12 and adults to include persons most at risk of severe infection, such as the elderly and persons with existing medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. The vaccine is also safe and available for pregnant and breast-feeding women.