Even though the current numbers of active COVID-19 cases are now relatively low on Sint Maarten, based on genotyping results, the British variant is now circulating in the community. At least 24 people have been detected with the British variant.
While some of these cases can be linked to travel from Aruba and Curacao, most were residents without a travel history. This indicates that there is already local transmission of the British variant among the community of Sint Maarten.
Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire are experiencing an explosive rise in Covid-19 infections. In a matter of weeks, the number of active cases in Curacao went from a handful to more than 5,000 due to the more contagious British variant. The result is that Curacao now has code black, with an overfull hospital and one of the highest infection rate rates in the world. It is not unlikely that a similar scenario could happen on St. Maarten within the near future since the British variant is now circulating on the island.
The current vaccination numbers (which are similar to those of Bonaire) are not yet sufficient to prevent a third wave. It is very important for people to stay vigilant.
If symptoms are experienced or you have been in contact with a known case, stay home and call 914 or doctor. Get tested free of charge and without an appointment at Point Blanche from 8:30am to 11:00am Monday to Friday. Free testing is also available on the weekends, but an appointment is required via 914. CPS does not provide pre-travel testing.
VMT decided to immediately scale up the vaccination rate to ensure as many persons as possible are protected against this third wave.
The vaccination center at Belair Community Center has increased from six to eight vaccination lines.
The Pfizer vaccine is effective against the UK variant, but to really have an impact on local transmission, more people need to be vaccinated. To put this in context, only 19 per cent of the population has been vaccinated. Bonaire has vaccinated 18 per cent – and yet Bonaire is in the midst of a major outbreak, which indicates that our vaccine coverage is still too low to prevent an outbreak of the UK variant.
Vaccination is open to everyone age 18 and older, so please register to get your vaccine. Registration and vaccination are free. Register online: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb. The form is available in English, Spanish, and Creole.
Paper Vaccine Registration Forms are available at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Simpson Bay Public Service Center, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and pharmacies.
Organizations that wish to inform their staff about the Covid-19 vaccine and vaccination programme via an information session may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a session.
If you need help with the registration process, appointment, or wish for more information about the vaccination campaign, you can also call CPS at 914 or email: email@example.com.