The Ministry of Health is warning about the dangers of hosting events and gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The warning comes after a child who was recently diagnosed with the Delta variant of the virus was suspected to have contracted it at one such gathering.
On Sunday, the ministry reported that three new cases of the Delta variant had been detected.
The patients were a non-national who recently travelled to Trinidad from Venezuela, as well as an unvaccinated minor and an unvaccinated adult.
T&T has confirmed ten cases of the Delta variant to date.
Speaking during yesterday’s virtual media conference, county medical officer of health for St George East Dr Osafo Fraser said the minor, who is from this county, had more than likely contracted the virus at an event where family and friends were gathered.
Additionally, several other people at the event tested positive for Covid-19, he said.
“Our investigations have shown that this individual would have most likely got infected when a gathering of friends and neighbours was held, that the individual attended. This person was playing and interacting with other minors who we have also found to be positive prior to this individual, and those minors were unvaccinated. The parents of those minors were also unvaccinated and also, we found out, subsequently were positive.
“Essentially, what happened at that gathering is a number of people got together, people interacted, public health measures would have been breached and a number of unvaccinated individuals would have been able to spread infection among themselves.
“The fallout from this is that a number of people were infected. Some of them were very ill and ended up in hospital. One of the minors was actually in hospital already...,” Fraser said.
Principal Medical Officer-Institutions Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said the three newly discovered Delta patients are all currently stable and are in isolation.
However, Fraser said the situation highlights that minors are vulnerable and are more efficient spreaders than adults.
He said those who are of age to be vaccinated should be while adults have a responsibility to get vaccinated to protect those children who are unable to be vaccinated yet.
Fraser said the unvaccinated population continues to pose a risk, and he noted that some 90 per cent of people who tested positive for the virus in his county over the past six weeks had not been vaccinated.
He said 49 people from the county had to be taken to hospital for care.
“Out of that 49, 46 were unvaccinated,” he said.
‘Delta in our living rooms’
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh noted that gatherings and parties have been happening, the effects of which can spread far beyond those who attend.
He noted one such party was recently held in St Augustine where the attendees came from areas across four counties.
“In that one party, you had webs stretching out to four counties...over half of the country,” he said. “It shows how easily, in a small, mobile country, any gathering can lead to nationwide spread. And with the Delta variant, which is more transmissible, it poses a clear and present danger to our health system.
“When you marry that with our low vaccination rate where the majority of the population is unvaccinated, plus Delta, plus these gatherings, it is a recipe for disaster.”
Deyalsingh said the Delta variant is no longer at the country’s doorstep.
“It is actually in our living rooms. The decisions we make individually and as communities will determine whether we could keep it in the living room or whether it gets into our kitchens, bedrooms, closets,” he stressed.