by Linda Straker
- Over EC$1 million spent on testing supplies since this mid-August
- All purchases procured bilaterally or through COVAX facility
- During no movement days, people can visit pop-up clinics for testing and vaccination
Since announcing that the country was experiencing a significant increase in Covid-19 positive cases in mid-August, the Government of Grenada through the Ministry of Health has spent over EC$1 million for testing supplies.
During the period 8–15 August, health officials said several mass-gathering events that were attended by both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are the cause of the current outbreak. Some of these include house/yard parties as well as “jab jab” celebrations, despite the legal cancellation of carnival for 2021.
“Thousands of our citizens are now confirmed as positive since mid-August and testing supplies had to be purchased to conduct this mass testing; and so far, more than EC$1 million have been spent on testing supplies since this mid-August,” Health Minister Nickolas Steele said. He said all purchases are procured bilaterally or through the COVAX facility, especially for the vaccines.
Health authorities have declared community spread of the disease and mass testing is being conducted as part of the Ministry of Health’s strategy to contain, control, and reduce further transmission of the virus. Individuals who are positive are required to quarantine and or isolate themselves.
Besides the mass testing, the Government has also enforced restrictions on the movement of citizens at nights, and on weekends, with what is described as “no movement days.” During the no movement days, people can visit pop-up testing clinics in villages for testing and vaccination for Covid-19.
During the first weekend, under 600 individuals were vaccinated, but thousands were tested. Over the 18-19 September weekend, over 1,700 were vaccinated, and thousands more were tested. The positivity rate was 18% moving from 30% which occurred over the weekend of 10 September.
Dr Carol McIntosh, Director of Hospital Services said in a recent news conference that the key to reducing infections and severe illness from the virus is vaccination. Health authorities are hoping to have 70–80 % of the population vaccinated to prevent further spread of Covid-19 and death from the virus.
“The key is vaccination,’’ said Dr McIntosh, who also emphasised the need to observe health measures such as wearing masks, physical distancing, and hand sanitising.
As of 21 September, Grenada recorded 2,251 local active cases but overall, since the first case was confirmed in March 2020 the overall number of people testing positive is 4,356. The total recovered cases stands at 2,021 while the number of deaths is 75.