Dominica marks twenty-one days since its last confirmed case of COVID-19. The announcement was made by National Epidemiologist Dr. Shalaudin Ahmed at a Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment press briefing on April 28, 2020.
Dr. Ahmed noted that a community-based survey will commence on May 5, 2020 for one month to detect asymptomatic carriers of the disease and to identify persons who may have developed antibodies to the disease. The date for the survey coincides with two full incubation cycles since the last confirmed case of the disease.
The survey will be done through random selection of a proportion of households from all seven health districts, however the survey will be initiated in the health districts where confirmed cases of the disease were found. The public was urged to continue to practice good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, social and physical distancing and all other protocols issued by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment.
Dr. Ahmed provided further details on Dominica’s COVID-19 patients. Of the 16 confirmed cases, only three were linked to external sources, as 2 had travel histories ad 1 came in contact with a group of tourists. The remaining 13 cases were contacts of 2 cases. Patients ranged in age from 18 to 84 years, comprising 11 male and 5 females. Only 4 of the 16 COVID-19 patients exhibited symptoms prior to their diagnosis, which were mostly mild. The remaining 12 patients were asymptomatic and were identified through contact tracing. There are currently three active COVID-19 cases in Dominica, and none of the patients required the use of ventilators. To date, 386 PCR tests have been conducted with 370 being negative.
Director of the Dominica Social Security, Mrs. Janice Jean Jacques-Thomas announced that her organization is in the process of getting approval of plans to provide temporary unemployment benefits to persons whose jobs were affected as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal which was submitted to the Government for approval considered recommendations from the International Labour Organisation, actuarial firm Moreau Sheppell and local private sector organizations such as the Dominica Employers Federation, Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association, Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce were consulted. The temporary unemployment benefit programme is expected to cushion the impact on the earnings of affected employees and stimulate economic activity.