Prime Minister & Chair of the EOC Silveria Jacobs Updates on COVID-19 Developments May 5, 2020

May 6, 2020 2:00 am

Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs hereby updates the general public for today, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and the Government's COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.

COVID-19 Cases

Based on the latest available data, as updated by CPS Epidemiologist Eva Lista-de Weever, the counts for today, May 5, 2020, as of 4:00 PM are as follows:

· Self-Quarantine: 76

· Self-Isolation: 46

· Number Hospitalized: 5

· Number Tested: 365

o Number Positive: 76

§ Male: 54

§ Female: 22

o Number Negative: 284

o Number Pending: 4

o Inconclusive: 1

· Deceased: 14

· Recovered: 44

· Active Case: 18

It can be noted that there is now a downward trend in active cases that are COVID-19 positive. This downward trend is despite CPS' community outreach testing campaign in the community for the past two weeks consistently, whereby CPS workers spoke to over 1000 persons and only found 16 persons with symptoms, of which 10 were tested and one was positive. The outcome of the last community effort has not yet been added to this total, however, all test results over the weekend to date have been negative.

This downward trend does not mean the crisis is over. It signifies that now more than ever, we must maintain social distancing and proper hand hygiene. Additionally, the proper usage of a mask or cloth mask should be maintained, meaning that disposable masks should not be re-used and the sharing of masks should not be done. As we continue to test, more positive cases may emerge, but we are now

confident in our proven ability to handle whatever comes our way, without overburdening our health care sector as has been seen all over the world.

There are currently five COVID-19 confirmed patients admitted to the St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC). One of the patients is in the ICU tent and four are in the Mobile Medical Pavilion (MMP) of which two have improved conditions and will be discharged soon. This means that there are no COVID-19 patients currently in the ICU ward or the Medical/Surgical ward at SMMC.

SMMC's Outbreak Management Team in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders is in the process of creating a gradual re-opening plan to be able to resume normal operations. This will include implementing mandatory mask usage on SMMC premises, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and a host of other policies and procedures that will be put in place to ensure the safety of all staff and patients once SMMC resumes their full services. Prime Minister Jacobs stated, "It can be noted that SMMC has never had to provide healthcare services beyond their capacity and for that, we are forever grateful as a nation."

In ESF 7 which deals with Social Development, coordinator and Ministry VSA Secretary-General Joy Arnell updated that a total of 1558 total care packages have been delivered thus far within phase 2 of the food distribution. The district distribution together with the assistance of the community councils ended on May 3, 2020. There are still about 186 packages remaining to be delivered tomorrow, May 6, 2020. ESF 7 coordinator Joy Arnell stated that her team will continue to service the community and deliver packages as long as there are products. Their appreciation goes out to the various NGOs who continue to look for donations and provide packages to our community at large.

"People of St. Maarten, we are now at the stage we have been anticipating for a long time. The de-escalation of the measures has commenced worldwide, and for us here in St. Maarten, it is soon approaching. However, even as we de-escalate around the world and here in St. Maarten, we must do so responsibly, while conforming to our new normal. Staying healthy is important for us as we must do it for our loved ones, especially our most vulnerable. We must do so for the older and younger family members as well as those with underlying health conditions. Social distancing and good hygiene practices will be a necessary part of our future. So, take some time to talk to your family about this, as we continue to adapt and adjust. I always say, and truly believe that St. Maarten is strong and resilient! And when I say St. Maarten, I mean "the S'Maatin people". Resiliency is really up to each one of us. Join me, our government, our front-liners, and all who are working hard to keep St. Maarten safe, and bring her back to glory. We are indeed a blessed country. May God Bless St. Maarten and all her people," concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.