~ Outbreak Management Team activated and monitors situation daily ~
CAY HILL: As the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated by the Government of St. Maarten in connection with two confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in French St. Martin, management of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has activated its Outbreak Management Team (OMT) to monitor the situation on a daily basis and hereby informs the general public as follows.
“While there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on St. Maarten (Dutch side), SMMC would like to reiterate the steps to take if you or a family member shows any of the signs of COVID-19 which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath”, stated Dr. Felix Holiday SMMC’s Medical Director and Chairman of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
“In case you develop these symptoms, it is of utmost importance that you first call your family doctor instead of going there or coming to SMMC in person. You should also call your family doctor if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19”, Dr. Holiday concluded.
The following preventative guidelines, as issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.CDC.gov) for COVID-19, state the following: Currently a vaccine is not available for COVID-19. Until a vaccine is developed, community-based interventions such as school dismissals, event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.
Practice everyday preventive actions now. Remind everyone in your household of the importance of practicing everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care; however always call your family doctor or the emergency number first before showing up in person.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes in the cruck of your arm (elbow)
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection, a list of products with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved emerging viral pathogens claims, maintained by the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC), is available at Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fighting Productspdf iconexternal icon. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
In the interest of public health and in an effort to be proactive in minimizing the transmission of the virus, SMMC is asking visitors of patients currently admitted to SMMC to refrain from visiting the hospital if they are experiencing any symptoms which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Persons visiting the hospital that do not have the above-mentioned symptoms are kindly asked to follow all instructions on proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
SMMC also urges the public to call the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) hotline 914, if they have any questions or require additional information regarding COVID-19. SMMC’s Outbreak Management Team will share information in subsequent press releases.