A man who went to the gym twice while he was supposed to be in quarantine for Covid-19 will be charged, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday.
He was responding to a question filed by Opposition Senator Wade Mark on the monitoring of Covid-19-positive patients who have been directed to self-isolate.
He said the monitoring of patients by the Police Service has been “extremely effective”.
“However, as in all systems involving human behaviour, there had been one or two patients who broke quarantine.
“There was one case in Point Fortin where the gentleman went to a gym twice, knowing he was under quarantine. We then alerted the police and he was put under State quarantine and my information is he will be charged,” Deyalsingh said, stressing that these were “exceptions rather than the rule”. “No system is 100-per cent foolproof,” he said. “We do have to rely on the individual responsibility of people, but so far, by and large, the system (of self-quarantine) has worked well.”
Deyalsingh said the system of monitoring self-isolating Covid-positive patients included follow-up care and clinical assessment twice per day by the county medical officer; the provision of pulse oximeters to patients where medical officers can track and monitor the patient’s oxygen levels, the availability of medical officers at the Covid-19 hotline for advice, follow-up care and intervention, immediate intervention of the national emergency ambulance service if adverse circumstances arise; the list of self-isolation patients is shared with the police to ensure adherence and compliance with measures under the Quarantine Act and the use of a daily monitor tool to track the number of new active, symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, patients hospitalised, discharged and those who die.
$1,500 to $7,575 to administer final rites
Deyalsingh also disclosed that it costs between $1,500 and $7,575 to administer final rites to a Covid-19 patient. The State, through the regional health authorities and the patient’s family, share the cost of disposing of the body.
In response to a question from Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, Deyalsingh named a number of funeral homes which were approved for the conduct of funerals for deceased Covid-19 patients, based on compliance with the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 guidelines for funeral agencies for the preparation and conduct of services for Covid-19 deceased patients.
He said the cost agreed between the regional health authorities and the funeral homes ranged from $1,500 to $7,575 per deceased person for services rendered, such as transportation, the use of facilities and crematorium services.
He said the cost is shared between the RHA and the family.
The approved funeral homes are Clarke and Battoo, Armstrong, Armour’s, Clive Allum’s, Guide’s, Lee’s, Elite, Allen and Sons, Muslim, De Souza’s, Simmons’, Shyam, White’s, Union, Dass, Boodhoo’s and Belgroves.
In response to a question from Mark on the possibility of the Government introducing mobile testing sites where people can drive through and get a Covid-19 test, Deyalsingh said: “We are looking at the feasibility of that now especially as we have the rapid antigen test... I couldn’t give you a date as yet. But it is something that we are looking at.”
Deyalsingh said the current rapid antigen test was 99-per cent accurate, in contrast to the earlier tests.
He said the Government couldn’t “go cold turkey” in introducing this test. “You have to put on training wheels,” he said.
He said some of the equipment had been deployed in Tobago and Sangre Grande and the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory for validation by the Carpha testing agency.
“Once validation and training have been completed, hopefully within the next two weeks, then Tobago, the ERHA and Port of Spain will start to ramp up their individual testing,” he said. Deyalsingh said when the ministry is comfortable that the results it is getting from these tests match the PCR standards, then it would roll it out in phase two across all Accident and Emergency units and all district health facilities.
“That is the plan moving forward,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to commit to a precise date for the national roll-out of the tests since everything depends on how the validation process goes.”
Deyalsingh said the test kits were purchased through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), and were validated by the World Health Organisation and PAHO.
In response to another question, Deyalsingh said three private labs had been approved by Carpha for Covid testing—St Augustine Medical Labs, Caribbean Forensic Services and Victoria Labs.