‘Cause for significant concern!’ MoH reveals 615 positives and 11 deaths, explains test info discrepancies

EPL Infrafred Sauna

The Ministry of Health revealed 615 new Covid-19 infections today, which came from just 1,300 tests. There were also 11 deaths, which took the total tally of fatalities to 235.

Trinidad and Tobago now has 4,588 active cases with 343 hospitalised persons, while there have been 14,417 positive cases from 148,770 tests since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

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

The Ministry of Health’s corporate communications department stressed that today’s positive cases reflect ‘samples taken during a five day period (Friday 7th May to Tuesday 11th May 2021) and not the last 24 hours’.

Yesterday, the ministry said its confirmed cases were based on tests conducted between 8 May and 10 May while Monday’s results reflected samples taken between 7 May and 9 May.

“While the normal reporting timeframe covers samples taken within 2-3 days,” stated the Ministry of Health release, “the substantial increase in the positive cases, and the resulting number of samples collected and processed at testing sites throughout the country, has affected the reporting timeline in this instance.

“It should also be noted that the 99 positive cases reported on Monday 10th May 2021 may have been as a result of the normal weekend closure of some of the testing sites and some of the health facilities where swabbing takes place.”

Still, the government said there is good reason for concern right now, as the infection rate continues to surge.

Photo: Soldiers set up a field hospital, which was gifted by the United States government.

At today’s virtual press conference, Dr Avery Hinds, technical director of the Epidemiology Division, confirmed that the United States government has donated two ‘field hospitals’ which will have a capacity for 40 beds each—inclusive of intensive care (ICU) and high dependency (HDU) units—and are being set up at the Couva Hospital and Jean Pierre Complex.

The makeshift facilities are meant to help the twin island republic cope if the hospitals are quickly overrun.

At present, Dr Hinds gave the occupancy levels for the parallel health care system at 41% for wards, 74% for ICU, and 93% for HDU.

“It should be underscored that the reported positive cases reflect a high percentage of infection within the population,” stated the ministry. “The cases tested reflected a positivity rate in excess of 40%, which is a cause for significant concern. As such, the population is urged to follow all the personal health guidelines to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus. 

“Persons in quarantine/isolation must stay at home at all times. Additionally, persons who are sick are urged to stay home—even if they are not officially under quarantine order.”

Image: The threat of Covid-19 remains very real across the globe.

This morning, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director Carissa F Etienne revealed that at least half of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are suffering from shortages of health workers while oxygen supplies are ‘dangerously low’.

“We’re working hand-in-hand with ministries of health, particularly in hard-hit places like Bolivia and Antigua and Barbuda, to help countries redesign their models of care,” said Dr Etienne, “and update their clinical guidelines to optimise resources available, and ensure that more patients receive the oxygen they need.

“[…] Across our region, nearly 80% of our intensive care units are filled with Covid patients, and the numbers are even more dire in some places. In Chile and Peru, 95% of ICU beds are occupied, the majority by Covid patients. 

“Buenos Aires, where 96% of ICU beds are in use, just tightened restrictions to avoid the collapse of hospitals. Some areas in Brazil have waiting lists for ICU beds.”

The Ministry of Health urged citizens to help Trinidad and Tobago avoid the worst possible outcome in its fight with the ‘invisible enemy’.

Photo: The Idea Factory in Penal was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

“The Ministry of Health and our partner organisations continue to undertake robust contact tracing exercises and the implementation of public health measures as part of the national Covid-19 response,” stated the government. “We can and will overcome Covid-19 if we all work together and do our part. Wear your masks, watch your distance, and wash your hands. 

“We flattened the curve before and we can do it again.”


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