The Ministry of Health reported 25 and 21 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday and Sunday, which according to epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds, could signal the beginning of a new rise in positive cases.
The numbers recorded over the weekend were higher than those reported during the first week of the year, which ranged between four and 14 new cases in a day. Dr Hinds, speaking at the health ministry’s media conference, suggested that gatherings during the Christmas holidays could account for the increase in cases.
“We’re hoping this doesn’t establish itself as a rising trend, but we do note the beginnings of an increase and we do note that they may very well be related to whatever activities that took place behind the scenes over the Christmas period,” Dr Hinds said. “We’ll continue to monitor, and we’ll continue to advise.”
The chief medical officer (CMO), Dr Roshan Parasram, explained that not everyone found to have been in contact with a Covid-positive patient would be tested for the virus.
“It depends on your relationship with the person, the level of contact,” he said. “That is determined and there is discretion at the level of the CMOH [county medical officer of health] office.”
He added: “Testing does occur with the symptomatic primary contacts. And we do test asymptomatic primary contacts in certain cases. For example, in children who may have some comorbid conditions, we’ll do an early test just to make sure their health is safeguarded.”
Speaking on the Covid-19 vaccines, the CMO said that T&T is ready to receive the vaccines if it were to get them within the next two to three weeks.
“We are in a position right now if we receive any of those vaccines to actually be able to store and distribute them adequately to the population. And we are building on that capacity as we go forward.”
He said the ministry was aiming to have vaccines within the first quarter of the year. He added that they had three separate storage and distribution channels based on the different temperature requirements of the available vaccines.
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.