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T&T has 15th Covid related death; Deyalsingh: Baton passed to public, follow health guidelines

The Ministry of Health confirmed its 15th Covid-19 related death this morning. The deceased patient was described as ‘an elderly male with pre-existing conditions’.

At present, Trinidad and Tobago has 851 active cases while there have been 1,031 positive tests since the onset of the pandemic, from a total of 17,185 unique patient tests.

Photo: The novel coronavirus.

There are 178 hospitalised patients within the parallel health care system: Couva Hospital (102), Caura Hospital (76), UWI, Canada Hall (126), Debe (53), UWI, St Augustine (44), Tacarigua (36), Brooklyn Facility, Sangre Grande (28), Balandra (22) and NAPA (11).

At Couva, there are six patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and another five in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).

The Ministry of Health said 285 patients are ‘en route or being admitted to hospital’ while another 68 are being ‘processed for admission’—the latter category means the ministry is reaching out to inform them of their positive tests and making arrangements for their hospitalisation.

At a virtual press conference this morning, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh says he remains alarmed by the failure of many citizens to wear masks in public, on the advice of health care professionals.

He stressed that the world is still at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic and not even near to the middle. It is time to learn new behaviours.

“In order for us to beat the curve a second time, without jeopardising the total economic activity of the country, without a harsh lockdown again where only essential services are open,” said Deyalsingh, “we are asking once again for the public to please abide by the low cost, slightly inconvenient measures.

Photo: Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh addresses journalists during a virtual media conference on 7 May 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

“[…] The fight of coronavirus is not only in the hospitals, it is not only at the Ministry of Health… the baton [has been] passed to the public… There are still pockets of persons who feel these measures don’t apply to them and they are immune to the virus—you are not.

“[…] The only way to overcome this is not by a total lockdown but by total responsibility on the part of every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Dr Naresh Nandram, the principal medical officer of the Epidemiology Division, said the ministry is about to bring new machines online which can take the timeline for Covid-19 test results from hours to minutes.

“It will enable our health care professionals to be much more agile in the testing of patients,” said Dr Nandram. “Once these machines are deployed, our clinicians will be able to tell if a patient is positive or negative while that patient is [still] in A&E.

Dr Avery Hinds, technical director of the Epidemiology Division, suggested that the current spike will continue for a little longer but should then gradually decrease, once people adhere to updated restrictions—which began roughly one week ago.

Photo: A man wears a protective face mask as a preventive measure against the new coronavirus in Caracas, Venezuela on 24 March 2020.
(Copyright AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

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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