As public transportation resumes, Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Francis Martin urges bus operators and commuters to observe the protocols to prevent community spread of COVID-19 in Grenada.
“We are at a juncture now where through our epidemiologist we have had no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19, and because of this, our risk assessment for COVID-19 nationally increases significantly with the operation of buses,” Dr Martin expressed during a media briefing on Wednesday. The briefing, which was also attended by the Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Transport and ACP Jessmon Prince, discussed issues surrounding Government and the national bus association on the pending resumption of public transportation.
Dr Martin highlighted that buses provide an opportunity for free movement of persons and significantly increases the chances for transmission of infectious diseases, notably COVID-19.
Therefore, he urged everyone to practice a heightened sense of prevention and protection from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. He encouraged frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitisers; and bleach and Lysol for sanitation of buses.
He said the recommendation to employ conductors is to minimize passengers having to touch ‘high touch areas’ such as door and seat handles. He also urged passengers to carry the exact bus fares to reduce interaction.
With 23 COVID-19 cases and four active cases to date, Dr Martin expressed that in Grenada the situation is under control; hence, buses are being allowed to carry more passengers in comparison to in the region.
Minibuses and coasters here can carry 12 passengers, including the driver and conductor.
Reiterating there is no community spread stemming from patient #15, the Acting CMO expressed, “All of the contact tracing was done and quarantine for persons who were in contact, and all of the epidemiological investigation that were needed to be done for all of those cases, including case #15, they all were negative and they showed no evidence of transmission from case #15 or any other case.”
He continued, “So at the end of our investigations, we had to conclude that it was not due to community transmission…to be able to tell you exactly where the individual may have contracted it from, we are not able to tell you in detail exactly where or when, but we do know it was not community transmission. It is quite possible that case was linked to importation in some form.”
The infection of patient #15 resulted in a cluster of cases at his place of employment and the closure of the workplace facility for weeks.
All workers have since been medically cleared of COVID-19 and the establishment resumed operations.