The Grenadian Ministry of Health announced that 26 new COVID-19 cases were noted, stemming from a cluster at the resort. Those affected included guests, staff members and their related contacts. The discovery was made by the ministry during their pro-active screening campaign of tourism-related front-line workers.
According to The New Today, the Health Minister is now investigating if their are any weaknesses in testing protocols at the hotel. Prior to the outbreak, the all-inclusive did not conduct testing for the virus, and only carried out temperature checks and touch point cleaning, among other basic safety protocols implemented at most other hotels. One staff member also anonymously reported to the newspaper that guests mingled with staff members, and shared “hugs and [were in] close contact to take photographs together.”
Since then, the Ministry of Health has stepped in to carry out contact tracing, and have put all affected parties and households into quarantine. As a result of the outbreak, Grenada’s general COVID-19 safety guidelines were also amended on December 15, including the suspension of sporting activities for one week, limiting restaurants to pick-up/delivery-only options, and setting a 10 p.m. cut-off time for businesses and public transportation.
In the statement, the Ministry of Health said:
“Given the health emergency that this situation warrants, the Government of Grenada, through the Ministry of Health, has deployed all efforts, including personnel and resources, to address this grave threat to public health, safety, order and the maintenance of medical and other supplies and services essential to life in Grenada. Unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to further contain this outbreak of COVID-19.”
Grenada’s government officials initially ordered that all guests be evacuated from the resort, but rescinded the decision, asking that Sandals temporarily suspend acceptance of new guests until the situation was thoroughly investigated. The resort eventually released an official e-mail statement, saying that they are collaborating with health officials after asymptomatic persons were identified during screening procedures. They did note that the resort will continue to remain open.
“Grenada’s situation is an isolated one, the asymptomatic individuals were quickly identified, and we are collaborating with public health authorities to develop key learnings further. Out of an abundance of caution, the government has asked that we pause the acceptance of new arrivals for the next several days; however, the resort is currently open and fully operational for guests to enjoy.”
In the mean time, Greanda’s health officials are asking that the general public be more vigilant by limiting social gatherings and other events, as they expect that case numbers could rise in the next few days as a result of the outbreak. Prior to the incident, Grenada had just two active COVID-19 cases.
[Featured Photo: Sandals Grenada]