Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
PHILIPSBURG–Three more positive coronavirus COVID-19 cases have been recorded for Dutch St. Maarten bringing the total number of positive cases to 43, Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs announced on Wednesday. The genders of the three latest cases were not available.
Authorities will continue to assess the situation during the two-week shut-down period and in areas where clusters are identified as being formed, authorities will go door-to-door and check for persons who have COVID-19 symptoms and isolate them in the isolation facility, if isolation at their homes is not possible. “This is so that they can be monitored properly and to determine when and where they require hospitalization.” Jacobs said during the virtual live Council of Ministers press briefing.
The number of self-quarantine patients has reduced significantly, as persons had reached the 14-day period and had come out of quarantine. Troubling for authorities is that some persons are showing symptoms after 16 and 17 days and authorities will move to extend the mandatory quarantine period to 21 days to ensure that persons do not inadvertently transmit the highly infectious virus after the initial 14-day period.
She stressed that some persons may be carrying the virus and be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), which is why the lockdown to contain the spread is important. She urged persons who had returned to the country within the past weeks to continue to monitor themselves for late development of symptoms.
On the issue of masks, she urged persons to wear a mask if they have to leave their homes to further protect themselves. Cloth masks are not effective. “If two people in a room are wearing masks, then they are keeping their own germs and viruses to themselves. This does not mean that you should not wash your hands as often as possible,” she said.
It is difficult, she noted, to ascertain how the last two persons who passed away contracted the virus socially and she is therefore admonishing persons remain at home.
A third gas station, located in Cole Bay, will be opened to continue to service emergency and essential services that are allowed to use the roadways during the current two-week lockdown.