Dr Roshan Parasram, the chief medical officer of the Ministry of Health, is bracing for an increase in Covid-19 cases due to ‘non-adherence [of] public health guidelines’—even as the number of hospitalised patients continues to rise sharply in Trinidad and Tobago.
Today, the Ministry of Health confirmed 26 new cases of novel coronavirus, which brought the country’s tally of positives since the onset of the pandemic to 326. There are 179 active cases at present.
Last week, then Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said the Couva General Hospital could hold 70 persons before the conditions there become less than optimal for medical staff and patients alike.
However, as of this morning, Couva had 77 Covid-19 patients in its wards—one patient is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)—with another 49 at the Caura General Hospital and 33 persons ‘en route’ to either facility.
Parasram suggested that things were expected to get worse before they got better.
“In light of the recent movement of individuals and somewhat non-adherence to the public health guidelines,” he said, “we expect to see an increases in the number of cases over the next few days to weeks.
“In light of that, we are trying to get our hospitalised patients out to step-down facilities as quickly as we can, anticipating the need for greater hospital beds.”
The Ministry of Health’s figures today included ‘batched results’ which dated as far back as 4 August. Three of the positives came from private labs, 15 were ‘pending epidemiological investigation’ and eight were ‘contacts of recently positive Covid-19 cases’.
Dr Avery Hinds, technical director of the Epidemiology Division, said the Ministry of Health successfully completed contact tracing for roughly 64 percent of its positive cases so far and were aggressively working on the others.
One patient was revealed to be a prisoner with two prison guards also testing positive, while there was a case in Tobago said to be unrelated to the one involving a Trinidadian who travelled to the ‘Sister Isle’ for a wedding.
Thus far, Hinds cannot say how the prisoner was infected.
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 12 August)
- 168 cases in 24 days.
The Ministry of Health reminds members of the public to:
- 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.