Child becomes country’s latest Covid case

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A child has become the latest person in the country to test positive for Covid-19. The minor was among passengers who recently returned to Antigua from the Dominican Republic, health officials announced last night.

The new confirmed case was one of two positive results from the latest samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in recent days. The other positive result was a repeat test on a previously recorded case.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas told a press briefing last week that “30 to 40” tests had been sent to CARPHA for analysis on Wednesday with results due Thursday. A press statement sent last night revealed a total of 55 results had been received between June 25 and 29.

The child’s age and gender are not known but the reason for the delayed result was cited as due to parental consent being required for the test.

The minor, along with all other positive cases, remains in isolation.

The latest case brings the total, laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Antigua and Barbuda since the outbreak of the pandemic to 66. But that number looks set to rise when results are verified on four staff at Hodges Bay resort who tested positive via rapid antigen tests on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health confirmed that Mount St John’s Medical Centre has now begun testing independently for the virus, while maintaining a relationship with CARPHA which serves as a reference lab “to maintain a high level of proficiency”.

Tests using the hospital’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine were carried out over the weekend on 43 Cubans who were being repatriated. While 39 were negative, four were “indeterminate” and have been sent to CARPHA for further testing.

The statement added that the ministry’s ‘dashboard’, established to display and disseminate the latest Covid statistics, is being revised. A new version will be released to the public tomorrow.

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