Ride it out

Ride it out

With nine COVID-19 patients at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) as of Monday night, it was a matter of time before the evening business closures would be pushed further back from 1:00am to 11:00pm (see related story). Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley had been very clear about this being the next step with eight or more hospitalisations.

While no health crisis currently exists, capacity especially at the intensive care unit (ICU) is limited. Moreover, medical personnel are also impacted by the present outbreak.

School is obviously a major concern under the circumstances, with youngsters often carriers of especially the highly contagious Omicron variant. Infections among staff and students have led to widespread absenteeism in both ranks.

The start of vaccination for children ages 5-11 might spell some relief in that regard. It’s no guarantee, however, because the teenagers who attend Milton Peters College (MPC) and Sundial School have been able to get injected for months already, yet the two schools of Secondary Education School Board SVOBE were closed to go online since Monday, as was the Methodist Agogic Center Comprehensive Secondary Education (MAC-CSE) school.

Again, the local figures are not alarming now, but authorities obviously need to keep a close eye on developments. It’s also parents’ responsibility to make their children follow all precautionary protocols.

In fact, everyone – young and old – must do their part to help prevent spreading the virus, by vaccinating and getting booster shots, wearing face masks where appropriate, social distancing and frequently washing hands, as well as quarantining if experiencing symptoms or having been in close contact with active cases, testing and – with a positive result – isolating. There is not much else one can do really, except be abundantly cautious to try and ride out this probably short-lived and hopefully final COVID-19 wave as best possible.