By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 29th October 2021)- “…the numbers are going in the right direction approaching single digits and we want to keep it like this.”

So said the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws during her presentation at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing held on the afternoon of Wednesday 27th October 2021 whereby she shared news about “success” for  St.Kitts and Nevis in the first independent territory in the Caribbean sub region to cross a benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO) as it relates to a certain percentage for vaccination of the population before December 2021.

 Dr. Laws stated that the Federation has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for almost 21 months.

“We’ve experienced three COVID-19 waves of infection. We’ve done well in terms of containment. We’ve contained the first and second wave and the third wave is under control. She said the third wave started approximately or around about August 10th to 15th, and we are still counting cases.”

Pointing to an image which showed the third wave from 10th August to 26th October 2021, she stated “we are on the other side of the curve. This also shows the actual or daily count over this past week between 20th to 26th October 2021, and the numbers are going in the right direction approaching single digits and we want to keep it like this.”

Dr. Laws reported on the between Wednesday 20th October to Tuesday 26th October.

“… we’ve added 57 cases which is 66 cases less than the previous week of October 13th to 19th. During this past week, we’ve only had two hospital admissions and that’s at the JNF General Hospital COVID ward, and four patients have been discharged from the COVID ward during this period. We continue to have a number of recoveries. Up to this afternoon, 180 patients recovered over this past week.”

She said there were no additional COVID-19 deaths.

Speaking to the COVID-19 situation on the ground, DR. Laws talked about a total 2646 confirmed cases with 421 reported for Nevis and 2225 cases reported for St.Kitts.

The CMO said 294 active cases are being monitored with 53 on Nevis and 241 on St.Kitts.

Additionally, in relation to recoveries, she shared that patients “continue to recover quite nicely”  bringing  a total of 2331 with 365 for Nevis and 1966 for St.Kitts, noting that there were only seven persons admitted on the COVID ward at the JNF General Hospital  with the diagnosis of COVID.

At the time of her presentation, she informed that there were no any admissions at the Alexandra Hospital in Nevis and that for the COVID related deaths, the count remains at 21 with 18 on St.Kitts and 3 in Nevis.

According to Dr. Law “majority were unvaccinated.” She went on to explain that “if you are 60, if you are unvaccinated and based on the data we have if you have comorbidities, your risk of death from COVID is increased.”

 She continued: “In terms of the COVID-19 cases, based on our analysis, majority of the cases are unvaccinated. 68.4 % of the COVI cases are unvaccinated, 8.3 % are partially vaccinated and about quarter 23.4% are fully vaccinated so again if you are unvaccinated, your risk of picking up COVID-19 is increased.”

In terms of vaccination status, highlighted the COVID vaccination programme which started on the 22nd of February of this year. She said to date a total of 24,227persons are fully vaccinated having received two doses, and so in terms of coverage rate, such make it 72.1% of the adults in our population receiving two doses of fully vaccinated, and 76.6% of the adults have received a first dose.

She also mentioned the Pfizer Biontech vaccine from the US government which is being offered to adults and children 12 to 17 years.

Dr. Laws said to date, 11.7% of children within that age range have come forward and received the first dose and 8.2% of the children within this age range are fully vaccinated having received two doses.

Speaking about the vaccination status of St.Kitts-Nevis, she mentioned adults at 72.1%, children at 8.2% and population fully vaccinated at 51.3%

“This is a success [that is] the percentage of the total of the population,” he noted.

 According to the CMO: “When you look at the latest information coming out of the World Health Organization, all territories around the world are asked to achieved the WHO call to action to have at least 40% of its population vaccinated by December 2021 and it is with good news that we share with you that the Federation has surpassed this target, this cut point, his bench mark, and I dare say we surpassed this benchmark right about around August-early September of this year.”

Dr. Laws said “the Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] will be acknowledging the Federation’s achievement by publishing an article on the Federation’s strong leadership in the vaccine rollout so actually, this is a success story. St.Kitts and Nevis is the first independent territory in the Caribbean sub region to cross this benchmark, and this article will have a global reach.