St. Eustatius recorded a new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, July 22, Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis announced live on the local radio stations.
The positive case regards an essential worker who was granted permission to enter the island 15 days ago on July 8. The person was placed in central quarantine due to the fact that they came from the United States, which is labelled a high-risk country.
Previously, there were two other positive cases of COVID-19 in Statia persons who had travelled from the Netherlands. They have recovered in the meantime and tested negative for the coronavirus.
The current policy of the public entity St. Eustatius is that persons will be placed in quarantine if they travel from a medium- or high-risk country. They must also undergo a COVID-19 exit test as a precautionary measure to determine their health status before they are granted permission to enter the Statia community.
The infected person was scheduled to exit quarantine on July 22. A test was administered on Tuesday, July 21, and after the test came back positive the person went into isolation.
The individual was not showing any of the known coronavirus symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or breathing problems, and has confirmed to the public health authorities that they adhered to the quarantine policy.
According to Francis, the situation pertaining to this case of COVID-19 is under control. However, the Public Health Department will do additional interviews to ensure that there was no direct contact with the person in question by anyone residing on the island.
“Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij and I have always stressed to the Statia community that if we continue to open our borders, the chances will increase that COVID-19 will return to our shores. As a community, it is important that we continue to remain vigilant,” Francis said.
The public entity, together with stakeholders, is planning a strategy on how to reopen the island with COVID-19 still present in the world. The Statia government will determine how the community can be prepared for the “new normal” as it continues to mobilise the economy, which will be required as workers from the outside will be travel ling to the island for a number of important projects. These will be not only for the government, but also for the private sector concerning projects that are ongoing, said Francis.
Dr. Gerwin Schobbe of the Public Health Department said the new COVID-19 case was imported and contained. “As far as we know, we have no reason to believe that there is anything showing any direction of community transmission.” He stressed that it is very important that everyone continue to adhere to preventative measures such as social distancing, practising good hygiene and wearing face masks. He advised the public to make their own masks, as due to the pandemic the availability of masks is very limited and the prices high. He advised persons to search on the Internet for information about making masks.
The Health Department will carry out further investigations to make sure that no one escapes containment in quarantine and that they adhere to the rules. Schobbe said he knew that human behaviour sometimes makes persons put their own needs above those of others.
The Daily Herald.