~18 men, 5 women positive ~
POND ISLAND–St. Maarten’s coronavirus COVID-19 cases jumped to 23 on Thursday as the country began ramping up testing due to local labs being given the green light to conduct tests with the possibility of having results the same day.
The 23 positive cases are 18 men and five women. News of increased testing came as a man who was highly suspected of having COVID-19 passed away at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on Thursday afternoon. If the deceased is eventually confirmed to have had COVID-19, this will bring the COVID-19 death toll on the Dutch side to two in three days. This second case was admitted to SMMC on Wednesday evening.
The first person, also a man, who passed away on Tuesday was a suspected case in self-isolation at home. This person has now been confirmed to have had COVID-19 and is officially registered as the first death attributed to the highly infectious virus.
Prime Minister and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Chairperson Silveria Jacobs said during a national address on Thursday evening that the first case had not reported to SMMC prior to his passing and she urged persons who need medical assistance in relation to COVID-19 to contact emergency numbers 911 or 912.
Details of the first case such as his age, whether he had an underlying condition and whether he had travelled or had been in contact with persons who had travelled or with a positive case, were not provided during the national address. Jacobs extended condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and wished them God’s blessings.
In updating on the current COVID-19 cases, Jacobs said currently a total of 273 persons are in self-quarantine; 123 in self-isolation; 82 (three hospitalised) have been tested or are suspected of having COVID-19; 41 are negative; 18 are awaiting test results; and 23 (three hospitalised) are positive. Of the positive cases,18 are males and 5 are female.
Ten confirmed and suspected cases have been admitted to SMMC since the virus reached the country, three of whom have since been discharged and one of whom passed away (Thursday). Six persons are currently admitted to SMMC, three are positive cases and three are highly-suspected cases. Three of the cases admitted to SMMC have been critical and two are stable.
Jacobs urged persons to reach out to the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms and are not yet registered. The phone number 914 is an information line. It is not a hotline to get immediate service. If in dire condition persons should call 911 or 912.
“SMMC continues to assist and though their capacity is small, they have the capacity to deal with all confirmed cases that require treatment,” Jacobs said.