~ New deliveries of masks at the end of the week ~
MARIGOT--Another new coronavirus case was announced in French St. Martin by the Préfecture and health agency ARS on Wednesday, bringing the number of cases to two within 24 hours.
The patient is a 40-year-old individual living on the island who had returned from a trip to France (Paris). The individual, whose health is not a concern, is confined to home. There are still two confirmed cases in St. Barths.
In the latest bulletin, ARS notes the screening strategy has been adapted, moving from the strategy of identifying entry of the virus into the territory to identifying the most severe cases. The strategy for screening and patient management is based on national recommendations.
Given the circulation of the virus in the archipelago, the proposal to screen patients showing signs of COVID-19 is currently being adapted. This strategy is based on the following main principles: systematic screening of hospitalised persons, screening of persons at risk following a medical assessment, screening of professionals essential to the continuity of service for the population, and screening by sentinel physicians of persons showing signs in town in order to assess the spread of the epidemic in the population.
It said routine screening for the entire population would not benefit people with mild forms and would, through a massive influx of tests, put the laboratory in difficulty, potentially causing delays in treatment for severe cases.
The Préfecture advises to beware of rumours and misinformation. Information is circulating in the press that chloroquine, a drug to treat malaria, could be used in the treatment of COVID-19. The scientific and medical community is not looking towards economy and rationalisation. It is simply looking for effectiveness in the current state of our knowledge.
The use of chloroquine without an approved scientific approach is not being considered or discussed. This drug has side effects and contraindications that should not be overlooked. In any treatment, the benefit and the risk must always be weighed. However, giving this type of treatment to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people could present risks to their health. As soon as a treatment is recommended for COVID-19 by the health authorities, it will be made available on our territory.
Today, the analysis of requests for the complementary allocation of masks is underway. An important inventory will be carried out on the basis of this analysis and new deliveries are expected on the territory by the end of the week. However, everyone is asked to respect the use of masks, as it is important to preserve this resource.
Confinement and the recommended hygiene measures are currently the best defence for stopping this virus.