Small jump in Seychelles’ COVID cases as virus infects elderly home, fishing boats

The health authority in Seychelles has identified two COVID-19 clusters in the country that have led to a sudden rise in numbers from 12 positive cases on March 16 to 132 on March 17.
The two clusters were registered at the Home for the Elderly at the North East Point on Mahe the main island and the other among foreign seafarers on board four vessels fishing in the waters of Seychelles.
In a press conference, the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange, said that a total of 66 residents and staff members working at the nursing home have contracted COVID-19.
“We have carried out some investigations and we have seen that we have a total of 51 residents in the home who are positive. The youngest is 44 and the oldest is 93, with the largest number being in their 60s and 70s. Mentally, they have received a shock but there is a team there counselling them,” said Louange.
Among the residents, there is one that has transferred to the Perseverance Family Hospital isolation centre as the person was having some respiratory symptoms that are still mild. Two other residents with non-COVID related conditions have been transferred to the Perseverance Family Hospital so that doctors can monitor them much more closely. Two more residents have been placed at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay quarantine facility.
Louange outlined that the remaining 46 have been isolated in a separate wing at the elderly home.
“There are 65 staff and 15 have tested positive and they are in isolation. We are still carrying out tests on other staff and residents in other facilities at North East Point as we also have a Mental Home and a rehabilitation hospital there. There are still some investigation and work going on there to contain the outbreak, and we are closely monitoring our residents,” said Louange.
On the fishing vessels, the Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, said that “the seafarers most probably catch the virus in Seychelles during a recent stop at the port.”
He added that altogether four vessels involved and they are from two different companies.
“Several seafarers started developing symptoms a few days back while they were at sea. They carried out some rapid tests and some turned out positive. After this, they came to port and we were able to run their PCR tests during the past few days. Out of the tests, 49 came out positive. There are 37 from one company on two vessels and 12 from another company on one vessel,” said Gedeon.
At the moment, seafarers who have tested positive are being isolated on the vessels, whereas those who have tested negative are being quarantined in a facility on land.
Gedeon said that tests are still being carried out to determine the status of other seafarers who might have been in contact with the infected.
Among the registered 132 cases there were also five Seychellois coming from the community and 12 visitors and GOP holders.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has recorded 3,354 cases and 16 deaths. There are currently 398 positive cases.

Source: Seychelles News Agency