SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – During the Council of Ministers Live Press Briefing on Wednesday morning, the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs announced that the number of COVID-19 positive has increased from 40 to 43. Last night of the two hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), one was placed on the ventilator on Tuesday night while the second one was being treated with oxygen. (UPDATE)
On Tuesday, April 7, the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs delivered the following national address related to COVID-19 national developments.
The national address is as follows:
People of St Maarten, both here on St. Maarten and abroad, I hereby address you as Prime Minister and Chair of the EOC for today’s update on April 7th. As part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.
COVID-19 Case Updates
Today, I would like to start by updating you on the COVID-19 results. Our results haven’t come in from the Pasteur Institute of Guadeloupe yet, but as of 4:00 PM today, our self-quarantine numbers are down to 117, self-isolation is up to 200, the number of persons totally tested are 112, the numbers positive remain at 40, with 2 confirm hospitalized. Males 28, of the positive, females 12, the number of negatives are 62, the number still pending results are 10, deceased total; we have added 2 to that, even though they passed away over the past week. So now we have 8 that we have confirmed that were COVID-19 patients as 8 deceased.
The reason why the last 2 had not been added as soon as they passed, was due to the fact that it was not clear what the cause of death was. The first, the female, and male, most recently had underlying pre-existing health conditions at the time of their passing. Though it is still not conclusive, as to what caused the death, because they had been tested positive, we must update the matrix to include them as having deceased. Therefore, of the 40 positives, minus 8, there are 32, plus 1 recovered. Hence, we are actively tracking 31 active cases. The 10 that remain pending, hopefully, we will have later tonight, an update for you in the morning. The total persons that have been monitored thus far, by CPS are 739 persons whereby, quarantine and isolation have ended for 422 of those persons.
Due to the fact that we have been doing contact tracing, especially with our last positive cases, specifically those that had not been under CPS, and have been in particular segments of our society, we have been able to identify the hotspots where we will be going in with a team to do intense screening and testing. This is to further identify cases so that we can properly isolate them to further mitigate the spread of the virus. This might sound ominous and I would like to ask the general public not to attach any type of stigma as we all know COVID-19 knows no gender, it knows no color, nor class, as it will just continue to spread with human contact.
“I would like to thank all those persons who are adhering to our measures in staying at home. You are safe at home.”
Request for Qualified Medical Health Professionals
CPS would hereby like to also request through me, that all qualified medical health professionals who are willing to go into the field to assist with sample collection should contact them as soon as possible. We would like to get this done within the next couple of days, and as many qualified persons that we can have on the ground with us, the faster we would be able to ascertain all the persons infected within these areas. At this moment, I would like to encourage all persons who are feeling symptoms to call 914 and register with CPS. Register today so that we can have our real numbers. We believe there are more persons out there who are ill but feel afraid to contact CPS.
For those who have passed away over the past week(s), we wish the families, the friends, and all the love ones, much strength. This is a very troubling time to be having the loss of loved ones, especially in a time when we cannot even comfort each other in our usual ways. Lean on the strength of those who can sustain you but always on our God, our large savior, who is always there in time of our biggest needs. We continue to pray for serenity and peace during this time for all who are going through this very, very, stressful period.
The next point I would like to update you on is related to food security. The supermarkets and grocery stores, in our meeting of yesterday, April 6, have identified that they would be very much willing to supply our citizens with deliveries. Several have announced their numbers and delivery statuses today, while some of the smaller grocery stores were only able to get their waiver forms in later this afternoon. So even those within the small communities can look forward to groceries being delivered to their homes.
ESF7 has also continued with food deliveries for vulnerable persons in a meeting just concluded with ESF7 and 10. I was updated, and further decisions were taken as to how we would be proceeding. Once all the procured and donated food and hygiene materials have been delivered, we will then move towards a voucher program to deal with the large numbers of requests that have come in. This will sit in place until the stimulus plan kicks-in. 762 boxes of food and 697 bags of hygiene and sanitary materials have been packed by ESF7 together with their many volunteers.
I would like to thank each and every person who has done everything to make this possible. This continues to be a large logistic undertaking that continues for the next few days. Delivery is on the way and will continue until all the food, as well as the sanitary and hygiene materials, has been delivered. Seeing that the grocery stores are now on the delivery list, we are looking forward to receiving many donations of fresh fruits and vegetables to be able to add to these boxes, to ensure that our vulnerable also get products that will help to boost their immune systems.
Those persons who have not yet filled out the ‘social impact assessment’ form, so that we can assess which citizens have an acute need right now, are encouraged to do so. Our St. Maarten Government is working diligently to assist you as soon as possible. For those that have trouble accessing the form because of no internet, I ask those that do know of the form, to fill it in for them and send it to the social, welfare and labor department.
Request for Social Assistance Close to 5000 Applications
Up until today, April 7, 2020, 3444 of almost 5000 forms reflect a need for assistance in procuring food. This is a very serious need that we have been planning for and therefore, you can look forward to getting assistance in one form or the other, either with food boxes or with food vouchers within short.
I am asking you to only register once. The system has noticed that some have registered more than once either by hardcopy or they have also put in their form via the website link. You don’t need to register more than once. It all goes to the same department for processing and therefore, that would cut down on the amount of time that is spent to sort for the acute needs. Make sure you have an acute need where you need assistance now, within short, within a week or two for food. The coronavirus COVID-19 button on the Government website, www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus is called ‘Forms, Laws, and Protocols.’ After you click on this, you will find the forms, not only to travel but also the ‘Social Impact Assessment’ Form that you would need to fill in online and submit to the social services department for assistance.
Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion was in our meeting today, also Minister of TEATT Ludmila de Weever and Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek, who all took part via video conference. I would like to thank all those who took part in the meeting. Minister Irion informed everyone about the stimulus plan, and this will be presented to the public in a press conference on Wednesday, April 8, at 11:00 AM, after the Council of Minister’s weekly press briefing. More information about the Government plans will be provided at the press conference.
Banks and Payrolls
In our meeting with the banks today, it was stated that there are still payrolls to be processed and therefore, waivers have been granted to allow banks to operate. However, they will not be open to the public. They are only to facilitate the delivery payment system of the grocery stores and to process payrolls for those who have not received their month-end pay.
Joint controls continue, though we have experienced some glitches. It has not been clear which forms are being used, as things get lost in translation when shifts change. When going to the French side, one must have Form C or a disaster pass. The form must declare what reason you are crossing the border; either for work purposes, or an emergency related to family, care of the elderly or medical. For example, some persons get their medical prescriptions from a French pharmacy or have appointments with a French Doctors or at the French side hospital.
Persons within Dutch St. Maarten must either have a valid disaster pass, a St. Maarten Medical Center ID, or a White and Yellow Cross Foundation ID, or a waiver signed by the Chief of Police Carl John, or the Minister of VSA or by the Prime Minister. Both sides continue to work diligently, and I must commend all those St. Maarteners who remain at home during the lockdown period. It’s not a fun time for anyone but you can make the best of the time by sitting down together and reflect and finding ways to communicate with those who are near but far due to the lockdown.
As we acknowledge the significant impact of COVID-19 around the world, and for our tight-knit community, let’s give thanks for life. What we do have is life, and for those who are coping with a loss, that they still have life and can comfort each other. Those with underlying health issues are even more prone to get severe symptoms which can lead to death. Stay away from the vulnerable within your families. Stay away, if you are moving around the elderly, from those currently suffering from high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart or lung disease. These persons are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and we would like to see the deaths end and we would not like to see anyone perish from COVID-19 from this day going forward. Please guard against it, keep your areas clean, wash your hands frequently, and if you have symptoms report it on the very first day.
For those with religious and spiritual beliefs in our diverse community, I call on you to pray, let us pray fervently and pray each morning and each evening and ask for safe passage during this storm. May God Bless You St. Maarten. We are doing all in our power to ensure we get through this with minimal damage.
Source: Souliga Newsday https://www.soualiganewsday.com/index.php?option=com-k2&view=item&id=30802:updated-eight-dead-from-covid-19-cases-climb-to-43-request-for-qualified-medical-health-professionals&Itemid=450