coronavirus

TRINIDAD and Tobago yesterday broke its own dreadful record for Covid-19-related deaths, with the Ministry of Health reporting an additional 21 fatalities over 24 hours.

The death toll placed T&T in the unenviable position of leading the Caribbean for the most fatalities in a day, ahead of Cuba with 18 deaths in one day.

However, Cuba’s population is more than 11 million people compared to this country’s 1.4 million.

Even as the country and the Muslim community celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr quietly because of Covid-19, yesterday was also a day of sorrow for many because of the virus. Covid-19 is now also claiming younger people and continues to show no respect for age, race or ­profession.

April 26 was the last day the country recorded no Covid-19 fatalities, and 87 people have been lost to the virus in the past 13 days.

The Ministry of Health’s clinical update yesterday afternoon indicated that latest deaths were five elderly women with co-morbidities, one elderly woman without co-morbidities, three middle-aged women with co-morbidities and three middle-­aged women without co-morbidities.

Covid also claimed the lives of four elderly men with co-morbidities, one elderly man without co-morbidities, two middle-aged men without co-morbidities, one middle-aged man with co-morbidities and one young adult man without co-morbidities. “This brings the total number of Covid-19-related deaths to 256,” the ministry noted.

T&T recorded its first case of the virus on March 12, 2020, and the first death on March 25, 2020—a 70-year-old man with pre-existing health conditions.

As news of the new record of deaths gripped the country, people took to social media to express ­condolences to affected families, and to express horror at the loss of life on a now-daily basis.

Many said they did not believe the death toll could have worsened, following news on Tuesday of nine Covid-19-related deaths and another 11 deaths on Wednesday.

Daily new infections have also continued to evolve ­rapidly upwards, with the ministry reporting, for the last 24 hours, 397 new cases from samples taken between May 9 and 12.

This has brought the total number of active cases in the country to 4,814 people, and the total since the virus was first ­confirmed to 14,814.

The ministry on Wednesday advised of a record 615 cases reported, but noted the figure represented a five-day sample period.

Changing face of death

Covid-19’s deadly rampage has evolved since it first attacked the country, going from affecting ­older people with non-communicable diseases to now claiming those in their 20s, 30s and 40s—and not all of whom had pre-existing health conditions.

Yesterday’s bad news caused many on social media to pray for the country and those suffering loss, while others posted that their friends, colleagues, neighbours and relatives were among the dead this week.

One person posted that a lost loved one was only 28 years old.

Several others said deceased people they knew were “healthy” and “health conscious”.

Others called on the Government and medical authorities to disclose more to the public.

Hospital figures high

Hospital occupancy in the parallel system remained high, with 342 patients receiving hospital treatment as at 4 p.m. yesterday, the ministry said.

One hundred and thirty-seven people are at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility, nine of whom are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 58 in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).

There are 103 people in step-down facilities, 392 in State quaran­tine facilities and 3,972 in home self-isolation.

Caura Hospital is treating 75 ­people, and 46 people are at the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre.

The ministry said 60,645 people had been vaccinated and 1,179 people have received their second dose.

Thirty-seven people have been discharged from public health facilities and a total of 9,744 patients have recovered.

To date, a total of 149,880 people have been tested at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha), The University of the West Indies’ sites, and at private facilities, the latter of which accounts for 69,456 of total tests conducted so far.

There are 56 people at the Arima General Hospital, 27 at the Scarborough Regional Hospital at Fort King George, and one person at the Scarborough General Hospital in Signal Hill.

The Claxton Bay Correctional Facility is housing seven people, 34 people are at The UWI in Debe, 22 at the Tobago facility, and 40 people are at UTT in Valsayn, the ministry added.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Three Opposition MPs are calling on the Government and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to have a heart and stop disconnecting the water supply of errant customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein yesterday wrote to WASA’s executive director Lennox Sealey urging him to suspend the drive and display humanity as people are suffering and strapped for cash in the pandemic given the lockdowns.

The same UNC people calling on the Government to instruct WASA to hold its hand on debt collection are the same ones who complain in the Parliament and elsewhere that they constituents are not getting water.

“You cannot have it both ways. You cannot have your cake and eat it,” Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said yesterday, as he responded to calls from several UNC MPs to grant a moratorium on the payment of water rates and stop its disconnection drive during the pandemic because people are under pressure.

Smooth sailing.

Braving inclement weather, Barataria resident Kenneth Campbell, 84, boasted he had gotten his second Sinopharm vaccine at Barataria Health Centre yesterday.

While awaiting his driver, Campbell, father of late forest ranger Keith Campbell (who was killed in the line of duty in 2016), said: “The first vaccine, I got was from a man. I did not feel it. The second vaccine was from a woman, and I felt it. It went well.”

Starting Wednesday and yesterday, he was among thousands of elderly citizens (age 65 and up) who got vaccines under the Health Ministry’s “Triple E System—the Elderly Express Experience.”

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is reminding citizens that patrols will be out prior to and during the enforcement of this weekend’s extended curfew.

In a media release issued yesterday, Griffith noted the actions and comments of “social media trained law enforcement experts”, who appeared to be questioning the rationale in implementing roadblocks throughout the country.

Time is critical if you are searching for a missing loved one.

Kelvin Ballantyne had been missing for about three months from his Tobago home before his family members in Trinidad were informed that he had disappeared.

Kelvin, also known as “Redman”, is described by his sister, Cindy Noel, as “one of the most well-known people in Lambeau, and maybe even across the island because of his job as an electrician”.