Dr Richards: Covid-19 quarantine facilities almost at maximum levels

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Quarantine facilities are almost at maximum levels, according to acting Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Richards. The nine activated facilities have a total population of 313. These facilities, which include several hotels, house nationals from state repatriation flights, as well as people entering the country through vessels and chartered flights.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s media conference, Dr Richards said that there was another scheduled repatriation flight from Miami with 132 returning nationals today. She added that another flight from Canada, carrying a further 120 people, was carded for Saturday.

Photo: A CAL aircraft.

When asked if there would be changes to how repatriation is handled given that quarantine facilities were approaching maximum levels, Dr Richards reiterated that the Ministry of National Security made all decisions to approve exemptions for entry into the country.

She added that where a returning national was quarantined was a conversation between the national security ministry and the person returning.

“The Ministry of Health only really gets involved once we have an approved list to identify which quarantine sites and the follow-up logistics in terms of testing and medical management of these patients,” she said.

Speaking at the same conference, Minister of Health Dr Terrence Deyalsingh said that last Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organisation (Paho) had given the ministry a list of 18 criteria T&T would have to fulfil to be considered ready for the vaccine.

“They are quite happy with where we are now, but we have to submit a formal report by December 15th. That report is almost completed and everything they have asked for to be submitted by December 15th is well under control. After that, we have to report to them every month afterwards on our stage of readiness,” he said, adding that everything was ‘on stream’ for T&T to receive an approved vaccine.

The health ministry reported 26 new cases of novel coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases confirmed since March to 6,808. Three of the new cases are repatriated nationals. There are now 650 active cases reported in the country. No new fatalities were recorded, so the total death toll remains at 122.

Photo: Members of the public are asked to sanitise regularly to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

There are 40 patients in hospital, 26 in step-down facilities and 313 in state quarantine facilities.

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, doorknobs and cell phones;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cough into a tissue or 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 WhatsApp to 482-GARY.

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