by Linda Straker
- Dr George Mitchell is designated Covid-19 coordinator
- Ministry’s strategy for Covid-19 will focus on current monitoring and surveillance system
- Several existing health clinics will be designated flu centres with separate entrances
As part of its preparedness strategy to combat the imminent threat of Covid-19, Grenada has developed a strategy which provides for a public education component, as well as placing emphasis on high-risk groups such as the elderly and persons with compromised immune systems.
“Going forward we are making sure that all sectors of society get the information they are supposed to get. We are really going to be beefing up on public awareness going forward on education,” said Dr George Mitchell, the designated Covid-19 coordinator.
Dr Mitchell recently retired from the public service as the Chief Medical Officer. He was recalled to assist with the Covid-19 Taskforce because of the experience he gained in the post when Grenada had to combat other health threats such as Zika, Chikungunya and others.
Mitchell told the media that the ministry’s strategy for Covid-19 will also focus on the current monitoring and surveillance system which he described “has been excellent.”
“The third strategic area is building a partnership with stakeholder involvement. We really need to ensure that everyone is on board in this national response. I will be paying particular emphasis on this area,” he said, explaining that the fourth strategic area is emphasis on the most at-risk groups. “They are elderly persons, persons who immuno-compromise system etc, so we already looking at ways and means to ensure that those at homes are visited, [that] they are in the best of health to withstand the viral attack when it comes because we think by now it’s inevitable.”
The strategy also provides for building the capacity of staff and the medical institutions. ‘So, they will be able to respond to inevitable, in other words, those cases that will need special attention,” Mitchell said.
Dr Francis Martin who is the Acting Chief Medical Officer said that as part of the preparedness several existing health clinics in the parishes will be designated flu centres. “There will be special clinics for the flu because we really don’t want people like that to mix with the general population.” He explained that personal safety and precaution must be of priority for all to effectively combat the threat of the virus, which to date has affected more than 90,000 worldwide.
As part of the campaign, Grenada has launched 53-VIRUS – a hotline number for persons to provide information if they consider themselves or others at risk.
Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, said that the flu centres will provide for separate entrances for those seeking the services. “Those will be existing health facilities that we can allow for a separate entrance where we can say to individuals if you believe you have symptoms of the coronavirus or flu-like symptoms please go to one of these flu clinics and there will an appropriately marked entrance for you to go to so that individuals aren’t going to our healthcentres and comingling with others who don’t have flu.”
When asked what advice he will give for any person who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, Dr Martin said because the coronavirus is like all flu viruses, anyone who becomes ill with flu-like symptoms should first stay away from others, but seek professional guidance.
“Overall the recommendation is to stay at home, monitor your symptoms because the epidemiology of it confirms that 80% of the people who get it will get better anyway. Use paracetamol guided by your physician; use your cold preparation; use your cough and sneeze preparation. Make sure to cover your face, nose and mouth. Do not cough and sneeze in people’s presence.” Dr Martin explained that only a Covid-19 test will determine the type of virus a person has contracted.