by Linda Straker
- 7 guests have left the island without permission, knowledge or medical clearance from health authorities
- Resort’s management submitted an open letter expressing dismay with government’s health officials
- More than 1,000 individuals including minors are part of contact tracing for Sandals cluster
4 days after disclosing that 9 guests at the Sandals Resort in Grenada had positive PCR Covid-19 test results, 7 of them have left the island without the permission, knowledge or medical clearance from Government’s health authorities.
Last Sunday, health officials disclosed that the resort, which is located in close proximity to the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA), was identified as the location for a cluster of positive cases involving guests and employees. However, on Thursday night, the Ministry issued a news release informing the public that only 2 guests who tested positive are currently at the Resort which has since stopped admitting new guests. “The number of positive cases currently on the island is now 45 and reflected as follows: At last update on 15 December, there were 44 active cases. Since then, one person has been medically cleared.” The release was disseminated through the Government Information Service (GIS).
“Further, 7 guests at Sandals Grenada who tested positive, have since left the island. They did so before results were obtained. Therefore, as of 16 December, there was a total of 36 active cases on island.” The GIS release did not disclose when or how the guests departed the island.
The resort’s management has since submitted an open letter expressing its dismay with Government’s health officials to disclose information about cases at the hotel while an investigation is ongoing. The letter which was published hours before the Government’s update, further boasted about the hotel’s cleanliness programme and confirmed that only 2 asymptomatic guests were at the hotel receiving care.
As of 17 December, a further 9 cases have been diagnosed with most of them tracing back to the Sandals cluster, bringing the total of active cases to 45. St George’s University (SGU) has disclosed that 5 people connected to the university are among the new cases. This brings the number to 6 positive cases identified among persons connected to the university.
Overall, Grenada has recorded 94 positive cases of Covid-19 since the first was confirmed in March. “At this point, the Ministry of Health advises the general public to be on very high alert, and to take every precaution to protect themselves and others from the transmission of this virus,” the release advised.
Health Minister Nickolas Steele has confirmed that more than 1,000 individuals including minors are part of the contact tracing for the Sandals cluster. Patient 44 who is a staff at the resort is the first person of 16 in her household to test positive. Grenada is among PAHO member states which have received thousands of test kits to for contact tracing to control and contain the virus.
“Based on the size of the cluster and vigorous contact racing efforts, the number of positive cases is constantly changing, as more tests are being conducted and many other individuals are carded to be retested in the coming days,” said the release.
The Ministry of Health has issued bulletins and public announcement informing individuals that everyone who has been ordered to remain in quarantine because of contact with a positive case, must do so for a period of 14 days, as mandated. Failure to comply with this order is a risk to public health and safety, and a violation of the Quarantine Act of Grenada.
“Our health team is working around the clock to test, contact trace, isolate and quarantine affected persons. Effective execution of these moving parts takes time; therefore, we ask for the patience and indulgence of the public as we seek to provide factual and verified information,” the release said.
The Ministry of Health, the release said is further strengthening our communications and monitoring systems to provide for greater responsiveness in this period of heightened alert. “All individuals requesting a test because of perceived exposure will be dealt with accordingly. We are also working to deliver results in a timely manner to everyone who has been tested,” the release assured.