Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 18, 2020 (SKNIS): Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Hazel Laws issued a call for medically vulnerable persons in society to seek assistance when necessary, while reminding individuals that focus is placed on everyone and not just patients with COVID-19 symptoms.


Individuals with uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes with persistently elevated blood sugars, patients with heart disease which include patients with heart failure and known coronary artery disease, renal patients and patients who are immuno-compromised – such as patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis should all continue to pay special attention to their ongoing symptoms and seek immediate treatment if they feel that they are not doing well, said Dr. Laws at The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing for April 18, 2020. “Despite our recent focus on efforts at decreasing the spread of coronavirus and preventing the overwhelming of the emergency medical system and by extension our health system, we should not forget other medically vulnerable persons within our population.”


The CMO also encouraged “patients with chest pain, chest pressure, increased shortness of breath, excessive swelling of the legs and unusual right-sided abdominal pain, visual disturbances and weakness of any extremity – that is of new-onset, to call their general practitioner or health care provider, 911, and visit the emergency room at the hospital without hesitation. We do not want to focus on preventing the spread of the virus and neglect patients with other non COVID-19 related medical emergencies,” she added.


Dr. Laws asked patients to pay attention to any changes with their medical conditions.


If there is any hint of changes to your usual medical conditions you should seek help without delay. These patients should be vigilant especially when they live alone. Make sure your neighbours and close family members keep in constant contact. I also want to add that I am hoping that neighbours and close family members would be intentional and keep in contact with older adults who live alone especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions,” said the Chief Medical Officer, noting that “maintaining the overall health of the people of the Federation continues to be our individual and collective responsibility.”