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CMO Charles: COVID-19 positivity rate on the decline

Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shawn Charles - although the signs are encouraging “we still have a long way to go”

The Ministry of Health has reported a decline in the overall (COVID-19) positivity rate” on the island, which stood at “18.6%,” as of Tuesday, compared to approximately two (2) weeks ago, when the average figure was around “30%,” according to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shawn Charles.

In providing an update on the COVID-19 status during this week’s post-cabinet media brief in St. George’s, Dr. Charles attributed the decline to nationwide testing exercises conducted during the two (2) consecutive no movement weekends that were imposed by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to determine the level of community spread, within the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique after a spike in positive cases was detected last month.

“…From our testing, over the past few days, we are seeing some signs that the positivity rate is going down. On (Saturday) the 18th (of September), we had a positivity rate of around 23%, and on the 19th (on Sunday), we had an overall average of around 14%. So, last weekend, we saw that about 18% of persons that came out to get tested were positive,” the CMO, explained.

Pointing to a “healthy uptake” in COVID-19 vaccination rate, the CMO reported that overall “1191 individuals” turned up (at the various vaccination sites to get the first dose of the vaccine,” while “199 received their second dose.”

Dr. Charles also spoke of the Ministry of Health teams having administered “1, 390 vaccine doses over the weekend,” compared, to the “507,” administered the weekend before.

Additionally, Dr. Charles spoke of there being an overall, “health uptake” in COVID-19 inoculation, which increased by “10, 773” since the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23.

However, he noted that “although our vaccination rate as a population is increasing…only 19% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.”

Data from the Ministry of Health shows that as of this Tuesday, 32, 727 individuals have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 22, 010 have been fully vaccinated.

Dr. Charles said that although the vaccination figures are encouraging “we have a long way to go” in terms of meeting the 70 to 80% target to return to some form of normalcy, and expressed concern that there is “still a large population of vulnerable, unvaccinated, at-risk individuals in our communities,” who “are being discouraged by others to not take the vaccines, for all the wrong reasons”.

“These individuals are elderly…who have multiple chronic diseases, some of which are not controlled (and) they are still undecided about getting vaccinated…they are being filled with misinformation, and are being discouraged from getting vaccinated…and the thing is they are falling victim one by one…and we see the outcomes. So, we still have a lot of work to do,” the CMO added.

Dr. Charles also used the opportunity to highlight other areas of concern, which ranged from persons who continue to gather without masks, and social distancing oblivious to the restriction set out in the COVID-19 regulations, and persons who refuse to isolate after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“This is a very selfish way to behave. You are a very selfish individual if you are doing this, and you are putting other’s lives at risk. So, we ask you to stop,” he warned.

As part of increased measures to mitigate against the continued spread of the deadly coronavirus within communities, the Mitchell-led government extended the 7.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. curfew for another two (2) weeks, from this Tuesday to October 05, as stipulated in the updated Emergency Powers and Regulations.

Additionally, two (2) consecutive no-movement weekends will again be imposed, commencing this Friday at 5.00 p.m., to next week Monday at 5 a.m., and to be repeated the following weekend, during which the movement of non-essential workers will be restricted to their properties except for the purpose of getting tested for or vaccinated against the coronavirus, unless granted permission by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to do otherwise.

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