Dr Avery Hinds, technical director of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Division, warned persons with co-morbidities—such as diabetes and hypertension—to respond quickly to any Covid-19 symptoms. It could be a matter of life or death.
Dr Hinds was responding to a question on the escalating death rate among Covid-19 patients, at this morning’s virtual press conference.
Today, the Ministry of Health announced Trinidad and Tobago’s 35th fatality since the onset of the pandemic in March. The deceased patient, who was described as an elderly male with co-morbidities, was the 13th death in this month alone.
Dr Hinds said the spike in deaths is due to the increased reach of the novel coronavirus throughout the country.
“What we are seeing now is the reach of the virus getting into these vulnerable communities [of elderly persons with co-morbidities] as community spread occurs,” said Dr Hinds.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago has a Covid-19 case fatality rate of 1.5 per cent, according to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, which is roughly half of the global average of 3.3 per cent.
The twin island republic’s death rate is slightly higher than Jamaica’s 1.1 per cent but below Guyana (3.1 per cent), Antigua and Barbuda (3.2 per cent) and Barbados (3.9 per cent). The United Kingdom has one of the highest mortality rates for Covid-19 on the planet with 11.9 percent, while Mexico has 10.7 per cent, Canada has 6.9 per cent and the United States has 3 per cent.
In terms of case load per million people, Trinidad and Tobago has 1,607 cases, which is again roughly half the global average of 3,483 cases.
Among the aforementioned nations, Barbados has fared the best so far with 622 infections per million people, while the United States and the United Kingdom have case loads of 18,961 and 5,113 respectively.
Although the numbers appear fair on a global scale, the reality is that Trinidad and Tobago has the highest category of infectivity, community spread, and Deyalsingh warned the most infected group—men aged between 25 to 49—to take stock of their behaviour.
He fingered young men who insist on attending ‘underground parties’ as well as persons who go to work ill as the ‘main drivers’ behind the spread of the virus.
“Protecting health care workers from burning out is my first, second and third biggest concern,” said Deyalsingh.
As of this morning, Trinidad and Tobago had 2,254 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic from 22,218 unique patient tests. There are 1,485 active cases with 1,338 persons in home isolation, along with 105 persons hospitalised and another 38 in step-down facilities.
From the hospitalised persons, six are at the Couva Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 12 in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).
Today is the third week since Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced sweeping measures to address the spread of the virus—including the closure of beaches, churches, gyms, contact sport and in-house dining and drinking, with public transportation operating at 50 per cent.
Those roll-backs came into effect on Monday 17 August. At the time, the country had 588 positive cases with 436 active cases and 12 deaths.
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 17 August)
- 436 cases in 29 days.
Local infections of Covid-19 since gov’t roll-backs (17 August to 7 September)
- 1,585 cases in 21 days.
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.