May 14, 2021
Some persons in shelters still reluctant to test for Covid19

Some reluctance to be tested for COVID19 remains an issue at shelters, even though almost 50 persons across eight shelters in St Vincent have already tested positive for the virus.

Tamara Bobb, the epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health told SEARCHLIGHT that as of Wednesday, May 12, 43 persons at public shelters had tested positive. Four persons in private shelters have also tested positive, and one person who interacted with persons at a shelter also tested positive for COVID19.

Of the eight shelters with positive cases, access has been prohibited to four, meaning no one is allowed to visit the shelters, nor are persons allowed to leave.

Despite the presence of the virus in these facilities, evacuees are still resisting local authorities who have been consistently urging them as well as shelter workers and volunteers to test for the virus.

“We were just told that persons were refusing, they were claiming that we were being sent or were being paid to do certain things. Of course, that’s not true. We also, anecdotally, feel that persons are afraid of the test, they are suspicious of the testing. The whole idea of testing has been painted as an invasion of persons’ privacy and human rights and so on,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Simone Keizer- Beache said as she commented on possible reasons for the resistance that is taking place.

She said there is a lot of resistance to testing that was not there before La Soufriere erupted in early April.

Keizer-Beache also noted that resistance for being vaccinated against COVID19 existed before the volcanic eruption and has continued even now.

“If you go to a shelter, and you get five people who would do a test, you might get zero who would do the vaccine. That’s sort of how it is,” she said.

Denniesha Deane, an evacuee at the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, told SEARCHLIGHT this week, that she does not want to be tested for COVID19.

The 20-year-old, who is a mother to a six-month-old baby said she was tested once at the hospital but if asked to do so now, she would say no.

She is also sure that she does not want to be vaccinated.

Petit Bordel resident, Asunda Matthews said she has no problem being tested.

The evacuee recalled being scared to be tested at the Bethel High School shelter, but after she told the nurse to be gentle, the experience was okay.

“I have no problem doing it again,” she said.

Matthews, however, is not willing to take the vaccine.

“…If somebody could come and sit down and explain and tell me, but because at the end of the day, nobody never really come and sit down, talk to me to tell me what is what concerning the vaccine,” she said, “so, I’m not really interested in the vaccine. But I have done a test, a Covid test already, I do a test through my nostril, I’ve done one already.”