Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 07, 2020 (SKNIS): The University of the West Indies (UWI) has played an integral role in the regional response to COVID-19 as it has been assisting the requisite ministries of health throughout the Member States in terms of developing a matrix which looks at regional health and the demands on the regional healthcare infrastructure.

We would have seen the first layout of it today,” said Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Hon. Wendy Phipps, during a COVID-19 press briefing held on April 06. “We are looking forward to receiving it in the PowerPoint format that was issued today so that CMO Laws and the rest of her taskforce can begin to see how we can populate that matrix with our own specific information as it relates to St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Minister Phipps said that on a daily basis, once the matrix is populated, and based on the data shown in terms of confirmed cases and negative cases, persons released from quarantine, number of hospital beds available for isolated cases, they will be able to do projections in terms of rates of infection.

She said that Member States might have to consider helping each other if they are in close proximity in relation to projected spikes in the infection rate.

Everybody is at a different capacity when it comes to resources including hospital resources so it’s even down to that level,” said the minister, referring to Member States helping each other.

In terms of projected spikes in the infection rate, Minister Phipps said there have been some comparatives as it relates to Italy, Singapore, the UK, the US and two Caribbean States Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Essentially it is telling us if we don’t stem the tide of the infection, we might see that same type of skyrocketing trend that we have already begun to see in parts of Europe,” she said. “So, we have to be very careful and one of the ways we can do that and the most powerful way is social distancing and if necessary lock-down periods so you can stem that tide that is coming our way.”

The UWI matrix will also look at the rates of death from COVID-19, said Minister Phipps.

We do not want to ponder that reality because, while we understand that we will have cases increased and people will get ill, we are still hoping within the Ministry of Health that those cases will be mild cases and St. Kitts and Nevis would not have to lose any of its citizens, but to do that everybody has to do his or her part,” she said.