SINT MAARTEN, Dutch Caribbean – The VSA Committee of Parliament held a closed-door meeting on April 16, 2020, with the Interim Director of the St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS) Dr. Cherina Fleming, pertaining to the process of testing Covid-19 Coronavirus cases on Sint Maarten. This meeting was held on request of Member of Parliament Solange Ludmila Duncan in a letter dated April 7, 2020 to the Chair of the VSA committee.
“Just like many persons in the community, I too had questions and concerns pertaining to the local testing process, the availability of tests, the possibility for mass testing and the costs of such. Testing is crucial for treatment, isolation and hospitalization of the infected and because of St. Maarten’s vulnerable healthcare system and the ability to handle a large outbreak, it was important to understand the capacity of SLS Lab and possibilities with testing moving forward.”
“Testing plays a major role as it regards national mitigation efforts in helping departments like the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) characterize the prevalence, spread and contagiousness of the disease,” noted the MP.
The closed-door meeting and presentation by the Interim Director of SLS allowed for an open and detailed conversation with the lab on various matters. Members of Parliament received some much needed clarity on the complexities of testing but also reassurance that testing capabilities are improving on St. Maarten and in collaboration with regional and Kingdom partners, as the fight against COVID 19 continues. MP Duncan would like to thank the Interim Director of SLS Dr. Cherina Fleming for her presentation and the work that she and her staff continue to execute.
According to research, effective testing will minimize the need for strict lockdown measures in the future, and so MP Duncan is urging the Government to ramp up wide-scale testing.
“As we go into our second month of lockdown and curfew, I would like to commend all those frontline and essential workers who continue to work hard for this country as well as those residents who continue to practice proper hygiene and social distancing. In doing so, I also urge those persons who have flu-like symptoms to isolate themselves and contact their house doctor or call 914.Our country is going through extremely tough economic times and the only way for us to effectively recover is to flatten the curve by slowing the spread of infection. No matter the difficulties of this time however as a St. Maarten people we must remember that we are resilient and will get through this together,” stated the Member of Parliament.