Safe COVID-19 Guidance for School Reopening
Monday, January 10, 2022
by Ministry of Health

As of January 9, 2022 Saint Lucia has diagnosed a total of 15,097 cases in country, with 1190 active cases presently. The daily infection rate for the last 7 days is 99 per 100,000 population per day, with a 36% testing positivity rate and a transmission rate of 3.3. We have noted a total of 306 COVID-19 deaths. We have 21 positive cases admitted at the Respiratory Hospital, 1 case is critically ill and 4 are severely ill.

Since the commencement of the 5 th wave on December 16, 2021, 1967 cases have been diagnosed with an average of 82 cases per day. Women account for 58% of the cases and 10 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded. Tourists account for 9% of the cases. The prevalence increase is noted mainly in the Castries, Gros-Islet, Dennery and Babonneau districts.

We continue to note increases in most of the public health indicators over the last 7 days, the transmission rate, test positivity rate, increased active cases as we manage the 5 th wave in country. We have increased surveillance for the Omicron variant which is characterized for the high level of transmission and we still have the Delta Variant in circulation locally. Data collected from contact tracing interviews revealed the top areas of transmission include large beach parties and boat rides, public bars and private parties and events and large family gatherings.

As the second term commences for our school children, we ask all stakeholders to contribute in ensuring a safe environment for sustainable school reopening. Bus drivers are reminded to ensure that all recommended measures are implemented.

School specific guidance includes the following important measures:

- Support your child psychologically, by providing information and daily re-assurance

- Cooperate and work closely with the class teacher on various safety measures put in place to keep your child safe

- If you or your child develops respiratory symptoms, seek medical care and do not send the child to school.

- Ensure children are provided with clean face masks daily for school and when in public places

- Ensure regular cleaning of surfaces and sanitation of all schools and environments

- Ensure your child remains in quarantine or isolation if they were a direct contact of a case or a member of your household is positive

- Limit social activities at schools and socialization after school in groups - Encourage vaccination of children 12-17 years old, teachers and school support staff.

The Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available at the various wellness centers and advertised vaccination sites. These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in protecting persons from developing COVID-19, its severe forms, complications, hospitalizations and death. The booster Pfizer vaccine is also available for persons who have had both doses of the AstraZeneca for over 6 months. Everyone who has not been vaccinated is urged to get vaccinated urgently.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue providing updates to the public as new information becomes available. For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.