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Death number six: MoH investigating deceased who needed ‘immediate emergency care’

For the first time, the Ministry of Health said it was stumped about a deceased patient as Trinidad and Tobago suffered its sixth fatality today from the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

A release tonight revealed that ‘further epidemiological investigation [is] required’ about the deceased since ‘information was not available from the patient, due to the need for immediate emergency care’. It appears unlikely that the patient was among the 94 positive cases tabulated this morning.

Photo: A Covid-19 patient is evacuated from the Mulhouse civil hospital, France on 23 March 2020. The Grand Est region is now the epicenter of the outbreak in France, which has buried the third most virus victims in Europe, after Italy and Spain.
(AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

At present, the twin-island republic has 97 confirmed cases from 688 samples tested by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) with six deaths and one discharge. The other patients admitted this afternoon had a ‘history of recent travel’.

The government ordered all ‘non-essential’ employees to stay home for two weeks, starting from Monday 30 March, as the country enters its tipping point, according to chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram, in the global pandemic.

On Monday morning, Trinidad and Tobago had 82 positive cases from 539 tests with three deaths. In four days, the number of deaths doubled with 15 more positive cases. The Ministry of Health has tested 149 samples in that period.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh promised that the government should soon be able to test as many 1,000 samples a day, as they aim to ramp up capacity by introducing as many as four Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines—all validated by CARPHA.

The Ministry of Health continues to urge members of the public to:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are unavailable;
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose tissue immediately after using, or cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoid touching your face;
  • Practice social distancing—that is no kissing, hugging or hand-shaking, and avoid mass gatherings;
  • Sanitise hard surfaces as often as possible, such as tabletops, handrails, doorknobs and trolleys;
  • Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms;
  • Stay home if you are ill or not employed with an essential service.

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  1. and if this investigation determines that negligence is responsible on the part of personnel, will that person/s be held accountable? We must not have a repeat of the St Anns Mental hospital tragedy when 14 inmates died after ingesting eggnog and the Eckstein/Parasram (Rampersad) Report concluded that it was “a system problem”.