Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) Richard Panneflek hereby updates the general public today, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in order to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest COVID-19 developments and the Government’s response measures.
Based on the latest available data provided by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Epidemiologist Dr. Raissa Tjon-Kon-Fat, for today, July 23, 2020, as of 6:00 PM, St. Maarten had 94 persons with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. 16 of these cases are currently active cases reported during the past few days. On July 21st, 2 new cases were confirmed. 3 new cases were confirmed throughout July 22nd, and 10 active cases were confirmed this evening July 23rd. To date, there have been 63 persons recovered from COVID-19 and 15 persons have passed away. Our current 16 active cases are actively being monitored by CPS and they have also initiated source and contact tracing for all cases to ensure that the virus is contained as soon as possible. Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek will host a press statement with CPS representatives in order to further update the general public tomorrow morning.
As per CPS procedures, all individuals that have been identified to have contact with a confirmed case have been placed in quarantine and have received information on COVID-19. Over the course of the quarantine period they will continue to be monitored by CPS. Persons that are required to quarantine or isolate according to CPS procedures, are required to stay at home and limit contact with all other persons, including their own family. This is the only way to ensure the mitigation of the spread of the virus. All positive cases are in isolation, with one confirmed case admitted to SMMC today, July 23, 2020.
The sudden spike in cases over the past few days which have been reported and confirmed on St. Maarten have been mainly local transmissions, of which 3 cases are confirmed as being travel related via the repatriation flight from the Dominican Republic of July 22nd. Some 143 passengers were tested at the airport over the past week as residents returned on several repatriation flights. Besides this number, GPs and CPS also send samples to be tested on a regular basis as soon as symptomatic persons make themselves known. In contrast to last March when we had our first cases, CPS, the labs and government are better equipped to deal with an outbreak. CPS is highly commended for getting contact tracing started right away on the newly reported cases which also led to new cases being identified today. CPS will continue this process to be able to contain the spread of the virus.
The virus can only spread through human movement and contact; therefore, the general public is once more urged to remain vigilant and do everything necessary to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself safe. We must all do our part in the fight against COVID-19 and not become complacent. The Government of St. Maarten will strictly enforce all social measures as has been constantly communicated to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on St. Maarten.
Protect your loved ones and the public of St. Maarten by staying at home, avoiding crowded areas, maintaining proper social distancing of 2 meters from other persons, cough or sneeze into your elbow or a napkin, and always wearing a mask when out in public. The public is also encouraged to continue washing your hands often with soap and water.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay at home and call your family doctor. For additional questions or concerns, call CPS at 914. Rest assured that this Government is doing its utmost to keep the public safe. The general public is asked to cooperate to avoid any further shut downs at this time. Stay tuned tomorrow morning as Minister Panneflek and CPS will update in a press statement.