National Epidemiologist, Dr. Shalauddin Ahmed, explained that the total number of new cases in Dominica stands at 50. Of this total, forty-eight (48) cases are positive antigen cases while two (2) cases are PCR positive cases. It is noteworthy that 81% of the positive cases experience mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.
Moreover, as of September 17th 2021, the total number of active cases on island is 627. On the positive side, the Covid-19 related deaths remain at eight (8). Furthermore, Dr. Ahmed noted that 50% of the adult population has taken at least one dose of the vaccine and 44.6% of the target population are now fully vaccinated.
According to Dr. Ahmed, the increase in Covid-19 cases were far greater from Monday 13th September, 2021 as oppose to the rest of the week. Evidently, as the week progressed, the positive cases gradually decreased. Nonetheless, this does not subtract from the fact that Dominica records an average of 57 new cases per day. “This surge in cases is mainly due to our susceptible population, that is, the unvaccinated population,” stated Ahmed.
Additionally, Dr. Adrien Dechausay, Director of Medical Services at the Covid-19 care complex, expressed that there are eight (8) buildings of varying bed capacities which are used to accommodate positive patients. These include the Portsmouth Beach Hotel (PBH), the Ross University Hotel (RUH), Barons Apartment, Avis Ville Luxury Apartments, Avis Ville Comfort Apartments, Regens Hotel, CAC Building and the main facility used to house critically ill patients, St. James.
Dr. Dechausay explained, “A protocol has also been developed to ensure the smooth functioning and efficient and optimum delivery of care for our patients at the covid unit center.” This encompasses the catchment of those cases identified throughout the testing program island wide. Thereafter, the patients will culminate at the RUH facility where the staff will begin the process of triaging. Following this, the patients will be dispatched to one of the eight facilities dependent on the clinical symptoms that they are presenting at that specific time.
Moreover, he explained that the St. James facility has been equipped with both human and physical resources. Currently, the facility accommodates approximately sixty patients and has been retrofitted to include an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The ICU has a four-bed capacity and houses four mechanical ventilators. The staff also provides in-service X-rays which helps mitigate the need for transporting critical ill patients to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital.
Dr. Dechausay made clear that one consistent observation that is noted at the covid care complex is the incessant number of admitted unvaccinated patients who quickly become aggressively and acutely ill and may require some level of advanced critical care. He urges the public to get vaccinated as the healthcare workers are stretched and overwhelmed and may only continue the fight if everyone plays their part.
Furthermore, he notes that another observation by the authorities is that among the young persons, there is an increase in a show of aggressive and acute symptoms. Accordingly, Dechausay believes that the answer lies in vaccination. Like Dr. Ahmed, he reiterates that the surge in cases is mainly due to the unvaccinated population.