Although a student has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, and another student at the St. George Primary School has been placed in quarantine, awaiting a second COVID-19 result, Health Minister Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic has stressed there is no problem at either school.
Addressing a press conference this evening at Ilaro Court, the Minister said: “At this point in time, we do not have a problem at the two schools, even though we have concerns, one positive case, and the fact that this is really a family cluster that we are dealing with, which has spread its wings into these two schools.”
He noted it was similar to the situation, several months ago, at The Ellerslie School, where there was a family cluster, he stressed his Ministry had taken all the public health measures that it could at this time, and was applying experiences from that school to the present situation.
Assuring the media that his Ministry was confident it would be able to deal effectively with the situation at the two schools, Minister Bostic said the process of contact tracing had begun in relation to the positive case, with a number of persons being tested.
He added: “We also did the same at the primary school at St. George in terms of at least getting ourselves ready for contact tracing if that situation develops, but remember that the student there tested negative on first test and is awaiting the second test in a few days. That student is in quarantine.
“We are satisfied that the Ministry of Education has taken the right decisions in relation to suspending the two classes at Princess Margaret that would have been impacted by the positive cases, suspending face-to-face classes, that is, going back to online classes for the time being, and we will be watching the situation very closely to see if we pick up any additional cases at the school, after doing and completing the second test.”
Divulging that three teachers at Princess Margaret should have been tested by the time the press conference was on, he said these were teachers whom the Ministry felt were exposed, given their proximity to students and to the positive case.
However, he gave the assurance that the Ministry was satisfied that as long as the protocols, being upheld in the schools were adhered to, persons would be okay.
Lt. Col. Bostic also pointed out that the Ministry had decided to make testing available on Saturday for any member of this secondary school who may feel uneasy and want to be tested, and said this was out of an abundance of caution, as is normally done.
Reiterating that the single case at Princess Margaret Secondary School did not indicate an outbreak of COVID-19 there, he said the Health Ministry would follow the science and undertake the necessary testing and by the time this was finished they would know exactly what was going on.
Contact tracing of this family cluster is also expected to continue as well as within the communities where these members and families reside.
Stating that this was par for the course, Mr. Bostic added: “We have been dealing with it all along; COVID is here. We have to deal with it; we have to live with it; it is not a situation that is going to make us reverse any of the decisions that would have been made in relation to the easing of restrictions because we are comfortable that this is not going to be one of those cases at this point in time.
“Similarly, we did the same thing with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and we did the same thing with the Psychiatric Hospital because these have been isolated and restricted clusters that we have been able to get on top of. We will continue to monitor the situation.”