Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh suggested that a pool party at the Bayside Towers in Cocorite, where a group of more than five people were seen frolicking without masks, might fall outside the public health ordinance.
Residents said the party-goers within the gated community, refused to disperse when advised to do so by the community’s security officials on Sunday and it took two trips from the police to get them to leave—with nobody charged for the ‘infraction’.
In contrast, 61 persons were fined TT$1,000 for not wearing masks within 24 hours of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) receiving ticket books on the weekend, with 51 persons charged in Mayaro alone.
Deyalsingh suggested today, at a virtual media conference, that Sunday’s Bayside Towers party was on private property and might not fall under the current public health ordinance.
“I will have to speak to the attorney general to see if it is possible [to charge persons who behave that way],” said Deyalsingh. “How you conduct yourself in your private place can capsize the whole thing. Do we really need to go there?”
This morning, the Ministry of Health revealed a further 102 additional cases, which took Trinidad and Tobago’s total number of positives since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic to 2,493 from 22,874 unique patient tests.
At present, there are 1,705 active cases, with 1,462 persons in home isolation, 102 hospitalised and 38 in step-down facilities. There have been 39 deaths.
Deyalsingh again used a war analogy to describe the twin island republic’s grapple with Covid-19.
“This is our World War I and World War II,” said Deyalsingh, at this morning’s virtual media conference. “We have to change [our behaviour] because the virus is showing no signs of going away.”
The health minister shared his concern too with the the ‘poor communication’ from the Couva Hospital with the families of patients. At present, there are 77 persons hospitalised at the Couva facility, with five at its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 10 in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).
“I am not happy with the level of communication being given to families,” said Deyalsingh, who will meet officials at the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) this afternoon. “It is concerning me… [The complaints] came to me and I am attending to it.”
Deyalsingh refuted suggestions that his ministry cannot provide critical health care to Covid-19 patients who need it and noted that, Couva apart, the Caura, Arima and Point Fortin hospitals can all provide ICU services.
Dr Avery Hinds, director of the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Division, admitted that not all of the country’s coronavirus deaths occurred in ICU—or even at a hospital at all.
“[There was] an incident or two when people did not reach the hospital before they passed on,” said Dr Hinds.
Dr Hinds urged the population to take the responsibility for their individual behaviour which would lead to positive collective results.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read as Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith defends police officers for their response to Bayside Towers pool party.
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 with 8 deaths.
Local infections of Covid-19 in second wave (20 July to 17 August)
- 436 cases in 29 days with 4 deaths.
Local infections of Covid-19 since gov’t roll-backs (18 August to 9 September)
- 1,801 cases in 22 days with 27 deaths.
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.