We have a plan, exact dates to be advised

With 7 days of sustained reduction in new cases, the MinPres outlined a plan to partially/carefully kick-start economic activity.

According to experts, now that measures are lifted, the key to public health is expanded testing, and following the detection of new positive cases, the implementation a robust contact tracing, then securing a safe place for isolation for those just-diagnosed, silent-spreaders and/or acute patients, while the rest of us are busy with a responsible economic restart, maintaining the ‘new normal’ rules of masks, gloves, frequent use of soap & water and/or hand sanitizer and in general improved hygiene and sanitation, with continued effort to ensure resiliency.

That’s the plan: Sustained reduction in new cases, expanded testing, robust contact tracing, a safe place for isolation, a responsible economic restart, continued efforts to ensure resiliency.

I talked to DVG about expanded testing since that is the key to a responsible economic restart. Aruba had about 5,000 testing kits, out of which about 1,700 were used so far, which represents a global high testing level per capita. We’re also above average when it comes to ICU beds, per capita.

DVG calls its strategy ‘Search and Destroy.’

From the start, the department instituted a low threshold to testing, with a wide case-definition for eligibility, thus it was and still is easy to get tested: You have symptoms? Just call for an appointment and you will be summoned at a designated time, swabbed, sent into quarantine and given results in 24 hours, sometimes that same day.

Aruba’s PCR machine, Polymerase Chain Reaction, helpful in detecting bacteria and virus by amplifying small segments of DNA, delivers fast and inexpensive molecular and genetic analyses. It picks up the proteins related to Covid19, and gives honest and reliable results.

DVG calls Aruba’s PCR machine sensitive, an efficient diagnostic tool that detects the disease easily. The invention of that clever tool landed its inventor a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1993.

DVG also employs Sentinel Surveillance, consisting of a crew of data collecting practitioners, who keep an eye on those in isolation and those in quarantine.

The team of Contact Trackers include well-trained professionals from the Infectious disease department, that have many years of experience in that kind of clinical detective work.  

And that is why Aruba was successful in flattening the curve, without Covid19 overrunning the health system. Applause.

These days, the flow of calls subsided because the rate of infection here slowed, but DVG is prepared in case another pocket of infection catches us by surprise. So far so good, no elderly homes, no high risk individuals affected.

Bottom line: While we cannot test the entire population, we can test many. Even asymptomatic people, within little or no symptoms can be tested. And of course, if you have been in contact with a patient. Illegal, or undocumented? No problem, you are covered in the system.

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April 29, 2020
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