Saturday, August 08, 2020

July 24, 2020 —Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labor (VSR) the honourable Richard Panneflek deflated rumours circulating on Friday of a pending lockdown of St. Maarten. “I would like to make it clear that no decision to lockdown the island has been made contrary to the malicious voice note that circulated earlier today,” said Minister Panneflek.

In a press release issued late Friday the minister did confirm that three new cases were reported by the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) bringing the total active COVID-19 cases to 19. “As of 4:00 pm on July 24 we have received reports of three new positive COVID-19 test results bringing the total number of confirmed cases on St. Maarten to 96 with 63 recovered cases and 15 confirmed deaths,” the release stated.

Rumours circulating via WhatsApp voice note suggested that there were more cases which had resulted in persons rushing to shops to get groceries in anticipation of the closure of the island. However, Panneflek said CPS did test an additional ten cases on Friday which remain pending. Once the results are known, the information will be released to the public.

As part of the Ministry of Health’s ongoing campaign to educate the community on the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid contamination, Minister Panneflek said “I want to stress the importance of social distancing and adhering to all the safety guidelines set by tCPS. I urge everyone to remain vigilant and conscious about the measures one can take to protect themselves. These include but should not be limited to wearing a mask, observing social distancing of two meters, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with a 70 per cent alcohol base where possible.”

Concerning the source tracing of the cases; of the 19 reported cases since July 1 to July 24 2020, there are four (4) independent cases that are not related to travel nor contact with a confirmed case. There also two clusters of nine cases four cases from Establishment number one and five cases from Establishment number two. Three of the nineteen cases were resulting from travel, (repatriation flight from the Dominican Republic), and the source of three additional cases is still pending completion of the CPS’ investigation.

While on Thursday there was only one COVID-19 case at the St. Maarten Medical Center, CPS now reports that three cases total are now admitted to SMMC one of which is a French St. Martin resident which does not count towards the numbers on Dutch St. Maarten as they are separately tracked.

The release stated that four health professionals who showed no signs of COVID-19 are amongst the 19 persons who have tested positive. These four professionals are self-isolating at their homes and are being monitored continuously by CPS.

“CPS is still conducting contact tracing based on the nineteen cases that have been confirmed to determine where they have been and if anyone has been in contact with them. Once they can decipher these details, they will conduct tests to eliminate those who are not COVID-19 positive and isolate or quarantine anyone with signs of COVID-19 or who test positive for the virus.”

“Our discussion at this point is focused on how best to scale back on large gatherings on the island, particularly those where it is evident that persons are not adhering to social distancing protocols. Our health professionals continue to work hard and provide the government with regular updates and advice on the best course of action as we continue the fight against COVID-19. If for any reason you suspect that you or someone you know has been in contact with a positive case monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 and contact your family physician

“I encourage you to remain safe and practice social distance. Remember wearing a mask is cool, and not wearing one is cruel. Wash your hands regularly and protect yourself and family,” said Minister Panneflek.

August 2, 2020   LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wilford Brimley, who worked his way up from movie stunt rider to an indelible character actor who brought gruff charm, and sometimes menace, to a range of films that included “Cocoon,” “The Natural” and “The Firm,” has died. He was 85. Brimley’s manager Lynda Bensky said the actor died Saturday morning in a Utah hospital. He was on dialysis and had several medical ailments, she said. The mustached Brimley was a familiar face for a number of roles, often playing characters like his grizzled baseball manager in “The Natural” opposite Robert Redford’s bad-luck phenomenon. He also worked with Redford in “Brubaker” and “The Electric Horseman.” Brimley’s best-known work was in “Cocoon,” in which he was part of a group of seniors who discover an alien pod that rejuvenates them. The 1985 Ron Howard film won two Oscars, including a supporting actor honor for Don Ameche.

July 31, 2020  LONDON (AP) — Alan Parker, a successful and sometimes surprising filmmaker whose diverse output includes “Bugsy Malone,” “Midnight Express,” and “Evita,” has died at 76, his family said. A Briton who became a Hollywood heavyweight, Parker also directed “Fame,” “The Commitments and “Mississippi Burning.” Together his movies won 10 Academy Awards and 19 British Academy Film Awards. The director’s family said he died Friday in London after a long illness. Parker was born in London on Feb. 14, 1944, and, like many other aspiring British directors of his generation, including Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne, began his career in advertising as a copywriter and director of commercials.

NEW YORK (AP) — When historians look back on the top films at the box office in the summer of 2020, they may feel like they’ve slipped into a time warp, or maybe “Back to the Future.” Over the second weekend in July, “Empire Strikes Back” — 40 years after it was first released — was again No. 1. “Ghostbusters” claimed the July 4th weekend, 36 years after opening. Over the June 19-21 weekend and 27 years after it last led the box office, “Jurassic Park” again ruled theaters. In a pandemic that has resurrected all kinds of vintage pastimes, from puzzles to drive-ins, even the blockbusters are retro. That is much out of necessity. About 1,000 theaters in the U.S. are currently open, just about a sixth of the nation’s cinemas. That includes the approximately 300 drive-ins that have, since the multiplexes shuttered in March, hosted the majority of moviegoing.

July 29, 2020  LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tracy Morgan and his wife of five years are ending their marriage The actor-comedian’s representative said in an emailed statement Wednesday that Morgan and Megan Wollover have filed for divorce. “This is a challenging time for all involved, so I ask that you please respect our privacy,” Morgan said in a statement. Morgan and Wollover married after the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member recovered from a 2014 highway crash. One man was killed in the crash that left Morgan and two friends seriously injured. The crash happened when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo Morgan was riding in.