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13 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 21 Recoveries. 120 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 18th, there were thirteen (13) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, twenty-one (21) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and twenty (120). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand six hundred and sixty-nine (1669).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and nineteen (119) people in home isolation. One (1) patient remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand five hundred and twenty-two (1522). Two hundred and thirty-nine (239) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2219 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 12, 629 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek encourages everyone to remain vigilant when in public places; wear a mask at all times, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, wash or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings.

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Pilot shipment to test new fresh produce supply line

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - The Public Entity Saba last summer approved a project to investigate possibilities to accomplish a more reliable supply of fresh produce, in terms of availability, quality and price. As part of this project, a new supply line from Miami to Saba is tested later this week by the Big Rock and Unique supermarkets. This should lead to the availability of more high-quality fresh produce that remains fresh longer.

Crises have shown that securing the supply of fresh produce on Saba remains a challenge. At the start of the crisis, caused by the coronavirus pandemic in March last year, it became clear that the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables from St. Maarten stagnated. Due to the fact that Saba is not fully self-sufficient, this quickly led to shortages on the island. Combined with the hurricane season and aware of the responsibility that the government has to ensure the basic needs of the community, the Public Entity Saba decided to look for solutions to improve the continuity of supply of fresh produce.

The supply route, Miami - Sint Maarten - Sint Maarten - Saba, has existed for decades, even though research conducted by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) has shown that it is not the most suitable supply line for perishable goods. Long transportation times, combined with incorrect temperature regulation and product handling, leads to faster deterioration of fresh products, resulting in more food waste, which leads to higher prices on Saba. In the current situation, the availability of certain basic needs, especially fresh produce, cannot be guaranteed and the community sometimes has limited access to these products.

Direct import of fresh produce to Saba has been mentioned as the most promising solution to overcome these issues. To assess the potential of opening up a direct, weekly shipping route for fresh produce between Miami and Saba, a pilot shipment is scheduled to arrive this week. Unique and Big Rock supermarkets have decided to take part in this pilot shipment. The fresh produce from Miami is available at these stores coming Wednesday.

In de days after the shipment, the shelf-life of the incoming produce is assessed and after an evaluation with the stakeholders involved a final decision is made whether or not new shipments can be brought in.

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Plaza Puerta del Sol Wastewater Treatment Plant Continues to Pump Sewage into the Simpson Bay Lagoon

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation has been responding numerous times upon request from multiple concerned citizens, about a very strong sewage scent emerging from wastewater being pumped into the Simpson Bay Lagoon by Plaza Puerta del Sol. “Already in December the Foundation had visited the site multiple times and recorded a very strong sewage scent every time and even saw sewage entering the lagoon. This included small pieces of possible toilet paper and feces which were seen floating out of the pipe. The situation was explained to the management of the wastewater treatment plant, as it was evidently emerging from their system” stated the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. 

The Nature Foundation advised the management of the treatment plant to directly stop the pumping of the wastewater into the lagoon and to use sewage trucks instead, until the situation is 100% solved and the water is tested to be clean. Besides, the situation was communicated with VROMI inspection and it was advised to not allow to continue these activities.

“A few days later the situation resumed, and we again spoke with the Management and explained to use sewage trucks until the treatment plant is tested to work properly. Unfortunately, last week we have recorded raw sewage to enter the lagoon originating from the Puerta del Sol treatment plant once again” stated the Foundation.   

The Nature Foundation did not receive any indication that the treatment plant has been repaired or that the water has been tested to be clean within the standards of their hindrance permit. “In addition, the strong sewage scent, the dirty water being seen to be pumped out and visible toilet paper pieces, show clearly that this treatment plant is not working properly and should be stopped operating before more or irreversible damage has been done” continued the Foundation’s statement. 

Pumping raw sewage into the marine environment can lead to serious health issues for surrounding inhabitants. Swimming, diving or walking in water contaminated with fecal bacteria can result in gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea or vomiting), respiratory illness, and infections of the skin, ear, eye, sinus, and wound infections. 

Fecal contaminated waters can impact the environment and marine life tremendously, as high nutrient input due to poor sewage treatment creates algae blooms. Poor sewage treatment causes raw untreated sewage finding its ways into water bodies. This contaminated water is rich in nitrogen compounds such as nitrates and ammonia, and causes algal bloom. Algae blooms increase the competition for oxygen, leading to an imbalance in the aquatic ecosystem and suffocation of aquatic animals like fish and other marine life, ending up with dead and stinky waters. Marine life species may also be impacted directly, such as the sea turtle disease Fibropapillomatosis which can be enhanced by polluted waters. 

Input of high concentrations of nutrients have a very large impact on coral reefs and is actually the main cause of widespread death of coral cover across the Caribbean. Coral reefs are the most productive and species rich marine ecosystems and are critical for fisheries, tourism, shore protection and biodiversity of tropical islands. However, they are the most nutrient sensitive of all habitats, requiring the lowest external inputs to avoid eutrophication and habitat degradation caused by excessive growth of algae, as algae thrive and overgrow corals due to additional nutrient input. 

Besides the serious negative health effects and environmental impacts, the sewage scent can seriously harm the tourist industry, as currently the island’s tourists first experience the strong smell of sewage instead of enjoying their vacation when visiting close to this location. 

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15 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 10 Recoveries. 128 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 17th, there were fifteen (15) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, ten (10) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and twenty-eight (128). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand six hundred and fifty-six (1656).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and twenty-seven (127) people in home isolation. One (1) patient is hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand five hundred and one (1501). Two hundred and eighty-six (286) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2216 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 12, 629 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Please continue to protect yourself when in public places; wear a mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, wash or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings.

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12 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 123 Active Cases. 13 Recoveries

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 15th, there were twelve (12) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, thirteen (13) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and twenty-three (123). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand six hundred and forty-one (1641).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and twenty-three (123) people in home isolation. We are pleased to announce that there are no patients hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand four hundred and ninety-one (1491). Two hundred and eighty-one (281) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2187 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 12, 629 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek reminds everyone to adhere to the mandatory guidelines implemented for the safety of yourself and your loved ones. It is your duty to wear a mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, wash, or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings.

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22 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 124 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 14th, there were twenty-two (22) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, nine (9) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and twenty-four (124). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand six hundred and twenty-nine (1629).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and twenty-four (124) people in home isolation. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand four hundred and seventy-eight (1478). Two hundred and fifty-eight (258) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2161 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 11, 535 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek urges everyone to remain vigilant when in public places. In efforts to control the spread of the virus; please continue to wear a mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters, wash, or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings. 

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18 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 111 Active Cases. Nine Recoveries

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 13th, there were eighteen (18) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, nine (9) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and eleven (111). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand six hundred and seven (1607).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and ten (110) people in home isolation. One (1) patient remains hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand four hundred and sixty-nine (1469). Two hundred and fifty-four (254) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2154 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 11, 535 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Continue to play your part daily; wear a mask, maintain a social distance of 2-meters when in public places, wash or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, stay at home and call CPS at 914.

ARCHIVED - SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 12th, there were fourteen (14) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, fifteen (15) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and two (102). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine (1589).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and one (101) people in home isolation. One (1) patient is hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand four hundred and sixty (1460). Two hundred and thirty-nine (239) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2147 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 11, 535 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Minister Panneflek encourages all members of the community who are experiencing signs and symptoms which may be related to COVID-19, and persons who have been in close contact with a confirmed case to take advantage of the free drive through testing. Testing is available from 9:30am - 11:30am, Monday to Friday. The testing facility is located in Point Blanche at the open lot before the harbour.

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Suspect arrested by Arrest Team in Cay Hill for July 27 fatal shooting

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – On Tuesday morning January 12, 2021, personnel of the Detective Department arrested the suspect with the initials M.R. in connection with an ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting which resulted in the death of J.B.A., police said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting took place on July 27th, 2020 around 10.00 pm, on the Hyssop Road in Cay Hill.

On the night of July 27th 2020, the police received several calls concerning a shooting that took place on the Hyssop road behind the Former Old Cake house supermarket in Cay Hill. On the scene the officers encountered the victim J.B.A. lying on the side of the road and not giving any signs of life.

The arrest of the suspect was carried out in the area of Hyssop road without complications by the Police Arrest Team.

Before being transported to the police station, a house search was conducted at the residence of the suspect. During this search, items related to the investigation were encountered and confiscated.

The suspect was later taken to the police station in Philipsburg where he is being held pending further investigation. (KPSM)

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80% of Oryx Residences leased or sold. Only 16 of 62 of homes in Oryx Residences still available

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Since the first residents moved into the residential complex in September 2020, many more tenants and buyers have settled in the new Oryx Hill residential compound, a local investment project of Algemeen Pensioenfonds Sint Maarten. The lease-to-own financing option has become the most popular among those interested in owning their own home.

Oryx Residences was designed as a local APS investment to offer safe, hurricane-resistant yet aesthetically pleasing housing to families on Sint Maarten. The 62 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units are centrally located in Cay Hill and secured by 24-hour surveillance. The majority of the current residents financed their home through the lease-to-own option, which allows tenants to finance 90% of the purchase price at the end of the lease term. It is also possible to rent or to obtain a 100% financed mortgage, depending on one’s financial situation.

“The lease-to-own financing option that we introduced in the past year has offered a solution to many who were interested in buying a home, but lacked the borrowing capacity to obtain a full mortgage right away. As we realized that a lot of Sint Maarteners are still getting back on their feet financially in the wake of hurricane Irma and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we instituted this new option. With this construction, residents can lease until their financial situation allows for a full mortgage, while already partly redeeming it through the existing rent”, APS Director Nadya Croes-Van Putten explains.

As of January 12, only 16 out of the 62 homes are still available. APS teamed up with real estate brokers Century 21 and Key Concepts to manage inquiries and viewings. To inquire about current availability, interested persons can contact these brokers via email or phone.

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20 New Positive COVID-19 Cases. 103 Active Cases

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of January 11th, there were twenty (20) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, eleven (11) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to one hundred and three (103). The total number of confirmed cases is now one thousand five hundred and seventy-five (1575).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring one hundred and three (103) people in home isolation. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to one thousand four hundred and forty-five (1445). One hundred and ninety-seven (197) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2139 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 11, 535 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

As we collectively work towards flattening the curve, Minister Panneflek urges everyone to wear a mask, maintain a social distance of 2 meters when in public places, wash or sanitize your hands frequently and refrain from attending mass gatherings.

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