Most persons who tested positive for COVID-19 during the ongoing outbreak in the BVI have presented with milder symptoms when compared to earlier stages of the pandemic.
This information was disclosed by the Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronald Georges during the Health Ministry’s virtual stakeholder meeting on COVID
“We continue to see nearly half of these people who are admitted into hospitals with positive test results are incidental findings. So, these are persons who are admitted for other reasons and happen to be positive, because all hospital admissions are screened for coronavirus
. Out of the other half who are admitted for COVID
symptoms, the majority of those are very, very mild symptoms,” Dr Georges stated.
“Few of them are on oxygen, most of them on nasal cannula (a device used to deliver supplemental oxygen or increased airflow to a patient or person in need of respiratory help), a few of them may be on high-flow oxygen. We have not had serious cases that have to be ventilated and alike. You would note this is in stark contrast to the outbreak we had earlier [last] year with Delta. We had sicker persons in the community, more sick admission to the hospitals; persons requiring ventilation and oxygen, and a larger number of mortality and deaths. That is to show you the stark contrast between Omicron and Delta,” the Acting CMO continued.
Dr Georges also noted most of the cases in the communities are also mild. He said persons who tested positive describe having cold symptoms for two to three days and, at most, four days.
He said these symptoms include sore throat, nasal congestion, headaches, and a few experiencing fevers, body aches, and other constitutional type problems.
“So, the picture is clearly different from the picture in the last outbreak. Essentially milder clinical picture and quicker and faster infection and rising in numbers of cases,” he added.
Although no samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) have returned with a positive test for the Omicron variant, Dr Georges still contends the outbreak might be a result of this highly transmissible variant.
As a result, he reiterated the Omicron variant is several times more transmissible than the Delta variant — between one and five times — depending on the country.
“In most countries, once Omicron enters, it quickly pushes out the other variants and becomes the dominant variant. Some characteristics of the Omicron variant; it tends to cause milder disease than Delta. So, the Omicron variant has been found in multiple countries throughout the world and is also in the Caribbean region,” Dr Georges noted.
The Acting CMO also said there have been two additional COVID
-19 related deaths recorded in the territory, bringing the total number of casualties to 42 persons. He said the updated statistics will be revealed soon but based on the information the Ministry of Health has, it seems the number of cases is levelling off.