More men and and young people are testing positive for Covid-19.

This is according to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram who yesterday noted a shift in the sex, age and demographic of patients in the “second phase” of the virus compared to when the virus initially entered T&T.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual media briefing, Parasram said in this second phase, there has been “almost a reversal” in the demographics. The country’s Covid-19 count now stands at 275, with 50 new cases having been confirmed yesterday.

The CMO presented a breakdown of the figures compiled by the Ministry since the virus was detected in T&T. He said in phase one — between March 11 and April 26 — the male cases were 41.4 per cent whereas females were 58.6 per cent. But in the second phase starting from April 27, the percentage of male cases had increased to 58.1 per cent, and the number of females dropped to 41.9 per cent.

In the first phase, the average age for positive cases were groups between 50 and 65 years old, however, in the second phase, the main age groups have changed to a younger age group between 20 and 40 years old. Minors have also been diagnosed with the virus, he said.

“We see a bit of a converse relationship,” Parasram said. “We see children being affected. We see in persons in their 20s, 30s and 40s being the main age groups that are affected in this particular phase, at least as the primary contacts and the primary cases.”

In the last two weeks, the Ministry has confirmed that several children contracted or were exposed to the virus, some of whom had been attending Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) classes. The cases forced the closure of a number of schools and Government took a decision to shut all schools that had previously been allowed to reopen for SEA preparation classes. Parasram said the areas that have produced the most positive cases are northwest Trinidad, St George East and Victoria.

Asked whether certain restrictions that have been relaxed would be re-implmented once more, given the spike in cases being experienced, Parasram said: “We can’t be punitive every time we see a few cases come up here, there and everywhere and close everything in society...We are trying to create a behaviour change in the population. Without the behaviour change, even if we roll back there will be clusters and there will be continued spread in the country.”

Parasram attributed the spike to people not following the guidelines and choosing to go to work or school while ill.

“We need to stay at home if we are ill. We need to learn the new normal and practise all those things as much as possible. We can’t be rolling back and forward different parts of the society every time we have a few cases. So we are keeping a close eye on it and recommendations will continue to be made if we think that it is relevant.”

Also speaking at the briefing Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, acting principal medical officer in charge of institutions, said the parallel healthcare system is managing well at this time. She noted that of 415 hospital beds available, 78 were in use as of yesterday morning and 20 out of 120 beds at step-down facilities were occupied. Altogether, including people at quarantine facilities, there were 356 persons utilising the parallel healthcare system as of yesterday morning.

Some 102 nationals were expected to return from the United States yesterday evening and be placed in quarantine at the Paria hotel.