by Linda Straker
- Cluster of Covid-19 cases identified could be infected with Delta variant
- Common factor for infected individuals is exposure to farewell party
- Current active Covid-19 count is 19; four are locals with no travel history
Health officials in Grenada are concerned that a cluster of Covid-19 cases identified — following the holding of an illegal “house party” with a mixture of returning nationals and locals as well as vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals — could be people infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19.
“From what we have seen, we are concerned that it is the Delta variant that may be circulating in our population,” said Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles who confirmed that samples for sequencing will be sent at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
“We sent a small number last week and we intend to do the same this week with all these cases,” Dr Charles told the media during the post weekly cabinet briefing on Tuesday, 17 August 2021. Up to 2 weeks ago Grenada had zero cases of Covid-19, but that all changed as more and more Grenadians returned in the early days of August.
This year’s carnival celebrations were officially cancelled but there were many illegal gatherings. According to Health Minister Nickolas Steele, this was in violation of the Covid-19 health protocol as well as the Emergency Powers Regulations.
“What we can say is that from that party, so far we have identified 5 individuals who have tested positive. It is likely that this party was a super spreader event, so all of the individuals who attended that party last Thursday, these individuals may have contracted Covid, and they are out there in the community,” said Dr Charles who urged individuals who know they attended the party to get tested.
Grenada’s current active Covid-19 count is 19 and 4 of the cases are locals with no travel history. All are being actively investigated. One case is a vaccinated hospitality worker identified through contact tracing.
“Of the cases we are most concerned about, the cases that I mention that were in St George Northwest. These individuals were somehow linked to a cluster that we are beginning to identify. One of those individuals also attended one of those party cruises and we are following up on that lead,” said Dr Charles.
This individual along with another case, also attended a farewell party or house party or yard party in which there were over 30 people. “Right now, we are trying to identify these individuals. They are also among their families, so right now their families are at risk as well.” Dr Charles pleaded for individuals to get tested and or become vaccinated against the virus.
All individuals infected are currently between the ages of 12 and 50, and are in 2 different parishes; the common factor is exposure to the farewell party.
Using the opportunity to encourage all citizens to become inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine, Dr Charles said that the virus does not negotiate, and taking personal responsibility for one’s actions can determine if “we all go down together.”
“We know what we have to do to stop this from becoming a catastrophic situation,” he said.