CPS concerned stigma preventing persons from reporting symptoms

CPS concerned stigma preventing persons from reporting symptoms

~ 600 test kits to arrive this week ~

 PHILIPSBURG--The Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) continues to be concerned that stigma is preventing persons from reporting that they have coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms.

The concern comes after evaluation of the numbers from CPS’ community outreach programme.

Prime Minister and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Chairperson Silveria Jacobs held a strategic meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Emergency Services Functions (ESFs) 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10, and the Ministers of Justice, Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (TEATT) and Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister.

Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA Richard Panneflek was unable to attend due to a scheduled Parliamentary meeting.

ESF 6 coordinator for Public Health Fenna Arnell gave updates on CPS’ community outreach campaign for COVID-19 testing. “Reportedly, over 600 persons in more than 200 households were contacted in three districts, of which nine were confirmed as showing symptoms and six were tested,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs reminds all that there is “absolutely no shame in knowing your status, as this is the only way to mitigate the spread of the virus. Knowledge is power. Proper hygiene and isolation once identified as positive, and properly medicated to avoid severe symptoms that may be life-threatening could save your own life.”

She added, “Proposals will be made to the EOC in the upcoming meetings this week as we continue to assess the effect of measures taken as well as CPS’ ability to carry out the necessary community outreach, testing, and mitigation of the spread of the virus on the ground.”

ESF 7 coordinator for Social Services and Community Development Joy Arnell, reported that she had a fruitful meeting with six organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are out in the community delivering food, and with the seven community councils and leaders.

The delivery list was streamlined by the organisation, and the number of persons needing assistance with food has been brought down to about 3,000. The food packages are also currently being packed and will be ready for distribution

by Thursday, and will continue through Saturday and Sunday in collaboration with community leaders.

ESF 10 coordinator and TEATT Secretary-General Miguel de Weever reported that on Monday, despite the fact that the banks in Zone A were not open, causing more work for police at control points, everything else had gone smoothly with the businesses that were open, and delivery services continued.

Additionally, discussions are being held with Port St. Maarten and Princess Juliana International Airport regarding the plan to re-open St. Maarten for returning residents and visitors, and how this can be facilitated while safeguarding the safety of residents of St. Maarten as well as future returning and visiting tourists.

Discussions also started related to the public holidays scheduled for next week, but the decision will be made after further legal advice has been sought as to how to resolve it within the constraints of the current State of Emergency and its scheduled business openings, so that the employees still have an opportunity to rest and recover during the holidays.

“I urge and encourage the people of Soualiga to remain faithful. Continue to show that we are a strong, resilient, united and powerful people. This challenge will be overcome. This war will be won. Thank you to the people of St. Maarten. Thank you to all our front-liners,” Jacobs said.

In the meantime, St. Maarten is expected to receive 600 COVID-19 test kits this week. Jacobs said confirmation was received on the test kits during the weekly ministerial consultation with the Ministers of Health within the Dutch Kingdom on Tuesday. During that meeting the ministers gave updates on the current epidemiological data and announced their intentions to look into de-escalating measures to return to some sort of normalcy and restart their economies.

“The meeting ended on a rather positive note, as St. Maarten got confirmation that the 600 COVID-19 test kits that were delayed for a week due to logistical issues would be arriving this week, ensuring that CPS can continue to conduct their community outreach campaign for COVID-19 testing,” Jacobs said in a press statement.

Jacobs also had an opportunity to express her gratitude for the assistance provided for the shipment of five ventilators from the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports, during the weekly ministerial consultation.

The Daily Herald

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