A handful of BVI residents have now been linked to a spike in COVID-19 cases in a small village in Dominica after five of the six travelers tested positive for the virus that is now active in 1,596 persons and has claimed 17 lives in the territory recently.
Over 30 persons who have now been identified as primary contacts are now in quarantine, and the village of Grand Fond is now under a stay-at-home order with bars and other public gatherings suspended.
This was confirmed via a statement from Dominica’s Health Minister Dr. Irving McIntyre on Sunday, July 18.
The Health Minister informed that on July 6, 2021, six travellers arrived in Dominica from the British Virgin Islands and were quarantined at a Safe in Nature COVID Certified property.
“At the end of the quarantine period, two travellers tested positive and were admitted to the St James Isolation Unit. The other four travellers who tested negative were re-tested on Day 5, three of whom turned out positive also admitted to the St James Isolation Unit.”
Reports surfacing indicates that after receiving the negative tests on day one, the remaining four travellers were allowed to leave and continue on their journey to the village.
Minister McIntyre’s statement continued: “Given that all the positive cases were from the Grand Fond community, over the last few days the Ministry of Health has been on the ground in Grand Fond. Swabbing and testing of primary and secondary contacts, as well as random testing of residents of the community, has been ongoing over the past three days. Additionally, all other persons who were identified as primary and secondary contacts who do not reside in the community have also been tested and quarantined.”
He said on Friday, July 16, 32 primary contacts were transferred to the Government Quarantine Facility in Portsmouth, Dominica’s second town and out of these primary contacts, two returned positive results and were admitted to the St James Isolation Unit.
The primary contacts of these two new cases were all identified and swabbed for PCR testing and will be re-tested on day five.
In the meantime, 71 PCR tests and 174 Rapid Antigen Tests have been carried out for primary and secondary contacts between July 16th to July 18th, he said.
Of the 174 Rapid Antigen Tests, only one returned a positive result. The individual was immediately swabbed for PCR testing and placed in Government Quarantine, and all contacts for this individual have been identified and contacted, he said.
Stay At Home Order
In an effort to flatten the COVID-19 curve, the Ministry of Health decided that for the next seven days, there will be a limited access in and out of Grand Fond to essential travel only such as medical emergencies, delivery of goods, and maintenance of public utilities.
Persons are encouraged to remain within the community and avoid any form of public gathering.
“With respect to public gathering, all church services, sporting activities all other social activities are suspended in the community. All bars should be closed, and the sale of alcohol will be suspended. Grocery shops may remain open with strict adherence to health protocols and will close from 6:00 pm daily. Individuals who work outside the Grand Fond community are encouraged to remain home for the specified period,” he stated.
Residents were also reminded to avoid visiting the elderly and homes of other relatives and friends as community testing continues.
Special arrangements will be made for students currently writing CXC exams to ensure that there is no disruption in their exam schedule.