Covid-19 update |26 March 2021
114 cases, 2 more deaths
As of March 24, the Ministry of Health recorded 114 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of active cases to 654, and the cumulative number of cases since the first ever recorded case in Seychelles just over a year ago to 3996, although several persons are expected to be discharged today after having met the criteria.
The statistics were made available yesterday by the chief executive officer of the Health Care Agency (HCA) Danny Louange, director general Public Health Authority (PHA) Meggy Louange and director of policy at the Ministry of Transport Magalie Essack during the weekly Covid-19 press update.
According the Dr Danny Louange, a total of 18 patients were being treated at the Family Hospital Perseverance, 5 of whom are in severe condition. Of the five, three are on ventilators to assist with breathing.
In total, 82 persons who have tested positive were being isolated at the Avani hotel, Barbarons, a further 100 at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay facility and seven at the Coastguard facility. There are also three positive cases on Praslin at the Indian Ocean Lodge, although one case remains unconfirmed and test results are being awaited.
As for the North East Point home for the elderly, where a cluster was recently recorded, there are presently 58 persons who have tested positive and are in isolation at the home, which has been restructured and reorganised to allow for their isolation. Of the positive cases, two have sadly passed away after having deteriorated in health, including a patient who was admitted to the facility around a month ago in poor health. Additionally, 29 patients at the mental home at North East Point have tested positive, although they are not displaying any symptoms according to Dr Danny Louange.
With regard to staff at the North East Point facilities, 16 from the home for the elderly have tested positive and are all well. The majority of persons, both patients and staff who tested positive, are to be discharged today, if they do not display any symptoms of Covid-19. One employee from the mental home has also tested positive.
The country recorded two further deaths over the course of the week, including a seafarer who arrived in Seychelles in a critical condition, Dr Meggy Louange clarified.
“If we consider the figures, which today stands at 114, it means that we still have community transmission. We want to lift the restrictions, and we have started to do so; we have allowed the reopening of schools, we are allowing tourists to enter, but we cannot lift all restrictions at the same time,” Dr Meggy Louange asserted, urging everyone to adhere to advisories and restrictions in place and to observe hygiene and safety measures so as to stop the propagation of the virus and stop community transmission, and for the protection of others who are not vaccinated, including young children.
Concerning the reopening of the country to the world yesterday, Dr Danny Louange explained that the ministry has a dedicated team working and finalising the small elements in order to increase PCR testing capacity, so as to cater for the influx of visitors to the country, some of whom will require exit PCR tests depending on the country to which they will be travelling from Seychelles.
Given the current testing capacity of the laboratory, the ministry does not foresee that it will be faced with any challenges in increasing capacity, and finding solutions to make the process more efficient through electronic systems.
Presently, the laboratory has a capacity of 1000 tests daily, a number which can be pushed to 3000 daily once smaller components such as space and human resource constraints are resolved.
“This is one of the elements that we have looked closely into and that we are still visiting. When we analysed, we observed that the stations that we have in place, like the Music Stadium, Beau Vallon, Anse Royale and Anse Boileau, we are doing on average around 200 plus tests, swabs per day across these stations, and these stations are for persons who are travelling, as well as persons who have had contact with a positive case, they too go to the stations. We also have other facilities that are doing swabbing, our clinics, hospitals, we are still doing this so it adds up. So on average, even in the past 10 days, we are doing around 400 tests per day in the laboratory.”
“When we evaluate the capacity in the testing station, we are adopting an approach to increase the quantity of swabbing to bring it up to around 1000 swabs per day. And this means we need to consider extended hours and more testing stations, but this comes with human resource, which is rare,” he said.
To facilitate the PCR exit testing process, the department of transport is implementing a reporting system whereby it collects information through the Travisory travel authorisation platform, to be remitted to the ministry in advance for planning and organisation purposes.
In response to a question regarding the Covid-19 Relief Fund, it was noted that the fund is being used to finance to purchase of supplies including personal protective equipment, reagents and chemicals for the laboratory. Some other Covid-19 related expenses are being financed through the ministry’s recurrent budget.
In concluding, the panel urged citizens to get the Covid-19 vaccines on offer across the country so as to reach herd immunity within the shortest and targeted timeframe.