Statement From Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shawn Charles

PR – Fellow Grenadians, today, July 29, 2020, the Ministry of Health announced that Grenada has now recorded its 24th laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19. 

The latest case is a male over 60 years of age, who arrived on a flight from the USA on 22 July 2020, and has since been in quarantine. He is currently asymptomatic and doing well. 

The individual presented a negative PCR test before taking the flight. The possible scenarios that may explain this include infection of the individual after taking the PCR test and before travel, or intermittent shedding of viruses as a result of a previous infection; a phenomenon that has been observed worldwide. 

Thankfully, this also shows that our quarantine and screening methods are working. 

We have been fortunate thus far not to have seriously critical COVID-19 cases, and our health care professionals continue to spare no effort in ensuring that every case is ultimately medically cleared of this deadly disease. 

To date, we have conducted over 5000 Rapid Tests, and 1,252 PCR Tests. 

With our borders re-opening, we are now at a critical juncture in Grenada. 

Our primary focus continues to be public health and safety, but we are cognizant of the fact that the Government is also trying to balance the health of nationals and economic considerations. More businesses are open and more people are out daily. 

It is easy to drop our guards, because on the surface, it appears that much is back to normal. But make no mistake, the presence of COVID-19 means nothing will be normal for months, if not years to come; and we definitely cannot afford to be complacent and lackluster in our engagements. 

If we have not already done so, we need to quickly adapt to, and sustain this new way of life, if we want to stay alive. 

Physical distancing must be our watchword. We must also wear our masks or appropriate face covering when out in public, and practice proper hygiene. Whether we are at work, or exercising, or shopping, or engaging in social activities, we need to ensure that we remain vigilant at all times. 

As the acting Chief Medical Officer, I am aware of how difficult these restrictions can be, but I am even more aware of how necessary they are in our fight to save lives. We have come a very long way, but the battle is far from over. In fact, we have been cautioned by the regional experts that this is likely just the beginning. 

I am immensely proud of our health care workers, who have, through their sheer vigilance, diligence and dedication, gotten us to this point, without any COVID casualties. 

I am also grateful to the Grenadian public for your collective efforts in observing the safety measures; thus helping to contain this deadly disease. 

This pandemic is unprecedented and fluid, and there is no blueprint. We will not always get it right and there are no risk-free decisions, but, as a Ministry of Health, we are working tirelessly for this entire Nation. 

These are indeed challenging times, and we are each affected differently. There are many amongst us who are not as able to adjust to this new normal and the difficulties that it poses; therefore, we must be mindful that we also have a very real and very critical mental health battle on our hands. 

Let us continue to spare a thought for our neighbour and look out for each other to help lighten the burden. May our Grenadian spirit and brotherhood shine through in these challenging times. 

Above all, let us continue to stay the course, and observe the safety measures, until we collectively see the back end of COVID-19. 

I thank you.