By Orville Williams
A number of guests and staff at the Royalton Resort in Five Islands have had to be isolated in recent days, after they tested positive for Covid-19.
Unverified reports about the positive infections had been making the rounds on social media over the holiday weekend, before physician, Dr Joseph “Joey” John, confirmed those reports on state media Tuesday evening.
He explained that, while the positive infections are a bit more than they normally find during routine testing, there aren’t enough to cause an alarm.
“We pick up positives from time to time, [but] this month I think there might have been a couple more than usual from the guest standpoint. There were [also] less than a handful of persons on the staff who tested positive this month, a little increase on what we see from time to time, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
According to Dr John, the resort has collaborated well with the health authorities to ensure the situation is handled with efficiency.
“To the credit of the hotel and the government, this was picked up immediately and everybody has been isolated. A lot of contact tracing has been initiated and is ongoing; I think maybe about 30 contacts have been tested, of the four or so workers that have had it over the last two weeks, but no further have turned up so far,” he said.
Preceding this incident, there have been concerns about the Covid risks within the hospitality sector, as several resorts have been deemed bio-secure facilities, catering to tourists who travel from some of the countries hardest-hit by Covid-19 and specifically the Delta variant, like the US and the UK.
Further, these tourists still have the option of travelling unvaccinated, meaning – despite the systems put in place to avoid close contact and maintain hygienic safety – infections could inadvertently be passed on to the local population.
Following this outbreak, the Royalton Resort has apparently stepped up its measures to prevent spread, stopping short of any drastic action.
“The hotel has gone into even tighter controls, reinforcing the education, the distancing, the mask-wearing, the unnecessary contact [and] the hand-washing. So, it’s more of the same, it’s not where the hotel is locking down or anything like that; there’s no need for that.
“It’s really the bolstering of the education process, bolstering of the protocols and of course, isolating those who were contacted,” Dr John told state media.
The physician also disclosed that, to his understanding, the persons that tested positive belonged to a cluster that had contact with each other “all the time”.
Efforts have been made to contact the management of Royalton Resort for feedback on the incident, but those were unsuccessful up to press time yesterday.
Observer has also reached out to the Health Ministry for comment, but this was also not forthcoming up to news time.