Are Covid-19 restrictions working yet? Wired868 offers timeline since govt’s rollback of liberties

The Ministry of Health confirmed three more deaths this morning and an additional two this evening, which brings the total of Covid-19 related fatalities to 27. Nineteen of those deaths came within the last month.

The deceased patients were described as two elderly males, two elderly females and one adult female, all with co-morbidities’.

Photo: The novel coronavirus.

A co-morbidity is defined as ‘the presence of one or more additional conditions co-occurring with a primary condition’. In the case of Covid-19, co-morbidities include hypertension, asthma, liver disease and diabetes.

At present, Trinidad and Tobago has 1,085 active cases of Covid-19 with 80 persons hospitalised, seven in step-down facilities and 962 in home isolation, along with 38 new positives who ‘will be processed for admission at the discretion of the CMOHs (County Medical Officer Health)’.

From the 65 persons hospitalised at the Couva Hospital, six are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and another 13 are at its High Dependency Unit (HDU).

The twin island republic has recorded 1,797 positives from 23,934 unique patient tests since the onset of the pandemic. More than three quarter of those positives came within the last month.

Wired868 looks at a timeline of government initiatives to combat the spike in infections since the start of the second wave and its impact on the spread.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Office of the Prime Minister 2020)

As a general rule, chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram said that health care professionals expect a roughly two week lag before they see the effects of behavioural change by the population.

Friday 31 July

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announces that the number of persons permitted in a public gatherings will be reduced from 25 persons to 10, while a rotation policy will be implemented for public sector workers. He notes recent infections at schools and bars and vows to monitor situation.

  • At the time of announcement, T&T has 169 positive cases from 6,379 unique patient tests. There are 29 active cases with 8 deaths.

Wednesday 5 August

The active case load doubled within five days of the government’s alterations to the public health ordinance, so Dr Rowley addresses the public again. This time, he announces the closure of SEA classes with immediate effect—although there is still no change for bars.

  • T&T has 199 positive cases from 7,804 unique patient tests. There are 56 active cases with 8 deaths.
Photo: UNC supporters on the campaign trail in Moruga.
Multiple parties breached Covid-19 regulations during the campaign season.
(via UNC)

Monday 10 August 

Dr Parasram suggested that activity related to the 2020 General Election campaign might be responsible for a spike in the novel coronavirus.

  • As the EBC closed polling stations, T&T had 281 positives from 9,725 unique patient tests. There are 135 active cases and 8 deaths.

Saturday 15 August

Dr Parasram reveals that T&T is now in the highest possible Covid-19 category: community spread. Nowhere on the island can be considered safe from the virus.

Dr Rowley announces sweeping changes, as the numbers allowed in public gatherings drops from 10 to 5, in-house dining and drinking as well are outlawed along with contact sport, while beaches and rivers, churches and all places of worship, gyms, water parks, casinos and members clubs, schools and education institutions, and cinemas are all closed.

Photo: Children enjoy the facilities at the Five Islands Water Park in Carenage.
(via Five Islands Water Park)

Public transport is ordered to operate at 50 percent capacity. All changes are effective from 17 August.

  • At the time of the announcement, T&T has 497 positives from 11,748 unique patient tests. There are 348 active cases and 10 deaths.

Monday 17 August

It is two weeks since, on 31 July, the government changed the permitted numbers at public gatherings from 25 to 10 and ordered the rotation of staff within the public sector. Despite the changes, T&T has 15 times as many active cases.

  • The country’s Covid-19 tally is now 588 positive cases from 13,060 unique patient tests. There are now 436 active cases and 12 deaths.
Photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh addresses journalists during a virtual media conference on 7 May 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

Wednesday 19 August

Two weeks have passed since the closure of SEA classes on 5 August—although Dr Parasram suggested that a more meaningful event might have been an end to the campaigning for the 10 August General Election.

The spike has slowed, but only slightly. The twin island republic has exactly 10 times as many active cases as a fortnight ago.

  • T&T now has 686 positive cases from 15,066 unique patient tests. There are 534 active cases and 12 deaths.

Wednesday 26 August

Dr Parasram announces that, with hospitals nearing capacity, the Ministry of Health will allow positive persons to quarantine home, unless they are moderately to severely ill. And, with a backlog of 600 tests, the government will no longer swab patients before discharge but will instead check 14 days from the onset of their symptoms or their first positive tests.

There will also no longer be a mandatory test for primary and secondary contacts unless they display symptoms. Instead, they will also be asked to home quarantine.

Photo: Ministry of Health chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram prepares to face the media at a virtual press conference on 7 May 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)
  • At the time of the announcement, T&T has 1,411 positives from 19,333 unique patient tests. There are 1,204 active cases and 15 deaths.

Monday 31 August

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi explains that the new law relating to the wearing of masks makes it a punishable offence for anyone above the age of eight to be in public without masks. The fines are set at TT$1,000 for first offence, TT$2,000 for second offence and TT$3,000 for third offence.

Trinidad and Tobago will hope to see an impact on the rate of infection by 13 September.

Photo: Members of the public are asked to sanitise regularly to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Trinidad and Tobago vs Covid-19 (in numbers)

Local infections of Covid-19 in first wave (27 March to 26 April)

  • 50 cases in 31 days.

Local infections of Covid-19 in second wave (20 July to 10 August)

  • 129 cases in 22 days.

Local infections of Covid-19 since Election Day (11 August to 1 September)

  • 1,516 cases in 22 days.
Photo: Guidelines for home quarantine.
(via Ministry of Health)

The Ministry of Health reminds members of the public to adhere to the ‘new normal’ and:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out in public;
  • Keep your distance from others (six feet);
  • Stay home if you are ill;
  • Clean then sanitise surfaces, such as tabletops, door knobs and cell phones;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoid touching your face.

Persons are urged to call Covid-19 hotline numbers: 877-WELL, 87-SWRHA or 877-3742 (Trinidad) and 800-HEAL (Tobago) if they feel unwell; or they can report a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations by calling 555, or sending messages—inclusive of photographs and videos—to the Police App or via Whats App to 482-GARY.

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One comment

  1. This is what exponential spread looks like…let’s hope the worst is over and nearly over. Condolences to those who have lost loved ones. It’s not at all comforting that they had co-morbidity but I appreciate the disclosure…I just wish it could be delivered less matter-of-fact’ly and with a bit more warning to people not to bring the virus home to their relatives. Speaking of knowledge, it would be very good to be aware of the areas where the positive cases are more specifically…not just a dot on a map. I guess I am hoping that knowledge will be useful to people who still walking around saying it’s fake news…but also to those who will exert a bit more care in their dealings with anyone…because apparently not everyone is taking the PM’s advice to treat everyone as if they have Covid-19 seriously. It would also be useful if they could collect data on mask wearing of primary and secondary contacts. It’s heartening to see the law is partially effective but some people are still not complying….and that is not good.

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