Though many may think the COVID-19 virus is no longer a critical issue, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is warning that COVID-19 hospitalisations still occur and persons are still dying from the virus.
However, CARPHA said the rates are substantially reduced from the peak of the circulation of the delta variant.
The agency said persons should continue practising cough etiquette and mask wearing according to national protocols.
CARPHA Executive Director, Dr Joy St John pointed out that many of the new sub-variants of Omicron have been circulating in the Caribbean region since last year, as evidenced by the gene sequencing results from samples submitted by Member States to CARPHA.
Dr St. John also stated: “As we resume economic activity and school post Christmas, and commence various festivities, it is critical that people protect themselves using the measures emphasised during the pandemic, including good hand hygiene, social distancing, mask wearing in crowded spaces, get tested when having symptoms and more importantly, get vaccinated or boosted”.
CARPHA is also warning Caribbean countries that influenza is still a serious issue within the region.
The agency said, regionally, there has also been a rise in influenza and other respiratory viruses, which can lead to severe illness (and in some cases death) in the old, very young and other vulnerable groups.
CARPHA also said vaccines
-19 and influenza that have been approved by the World Health Organization are effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalisation and death.