Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 23, 2021 (SKNIS): With a recent increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Hazel Laws confirmed during the September 22nd, 2021, NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing that the Lambda variant of COVID-19 was present in the Federation. CMO Dr. Laws further indicated that after samples were sent to CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) for genomic sequencing, the Delta Variant was not found in the samples sent and tested.
“We have evidence that the Lambda variant of the COVID-19 virus is in circulation in our population and we are recommending that you wear a facemask when in public places, maintain adequate hand hygiene, and maintain a safe distance from others. Most specifically, please avoid crowds at this time because the virus is in circulation. We want you to boost your immune system and if perchance you are experiencing any of the COVID-19- like symptoms, we are asking you to stay at home. Do not go to school; do not send your child who may be experiencing such symptoms to school; we urge you to remain at home,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
Given the recent spike of active COVID-19 cases across the Federation, speculation was rife that the COVID-19 Delta variant could have been the cause for the spike. Dr. Laws explained in detail that although two confirmed cases were present in the Federation via inbound passengers who were quarantined and who recovered in quarantine, the Delta variant is no longer present in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“In terms of the Delta variant, we have sent off to date three (3) batches of samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing. Of the batches sent off only two samples returned positive for Delta. Those two individuals were inbound passengers who were in quarantine, one in Nevis and one in St. Kitts. Those two individuals remained in isolation until they were fully recovered, meaning they got their two consecutive negative results. We are pretty sure that the importation of the Delta variant is controlled and contained, in other words, we only have evidence that the Lambda variant is in circulation,” said the Chief Medical Officer.
The CMO indicated that more batches will be sent for testing to determine what variants are present in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Further, data presented revealed that 51 percent of the active COVID-19 cases are unvaccinated individuals, showing that more than half of new infections have been unvaccinated persons.