As the long Easter weekend gets into full gear comes the scary news of 44 more people across Trinidad and Tobago testing positive for Covid-19.
The figures have been climbing steadily in the last few days, forcing the Government to ban all contact sports which it had relaxed earlier this year.
On Thursday, the ministry announced 46 new cases and three additional deaths from the virus, taking the toll to 145.
Urging the population to observe Covid restrictions and protocols, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday expressed alarm at the increase, saying the country was at a dangerous crossroad.
The 44 cases announced on Good Friday came from samples taken during the period March 30 and April 1, and not the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said in its daily clinical update.
As of Thursday night, the Ministry of Health said the current number of active positive cases across the country now stands at 347. So far, 8,116 people have tested positive for the virus, with 145 of them dying from the disease.
The ministry said of those who tested positive, 7,624 of them have fully recovered. Twenty-seven patients are currently warded at hospital while 389 are in State quarantine facilities and 270 in home isolation.
Six patients are in step-down facilities, said the release.
The ministry said of the 110,842 persons tested, 52,385 were done at private facilities.
Guidelines for second dose
Meanwhile, on being administered the Covid-19 vaccine, the inoculated person should return to the same facility for their second dose.
This was the direction given by the Ministry of Health in a release yesterday.
A decision is however yet to be made on the administering of the second dose of the vaccine.
Earlier this week, this country received 33,600 of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine through COVAX, and the Ministry of Health plans to roll out phase one of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme on April 6. The vaccines expire on May 31.
This vaccine must be given in two doses, with the second dose being administered eight to 12 weeks after the first. It is yet to be decided whether all 33,600 will be administered for the first shot and then await a second shipment from COVAX for the second dose.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said this will be decided in the coming weeks.
Speaking during Wednesday’s Ministry of Health Covid-19 news conference, he said: “What we will be doing is using the first half of the 33,000 and determining basically if and when we’re getting that second supply, and then we will make a decision then as to if to use this 16,000 and hold for the second dose or go ahead and use all 33,000 for a first dose.
“And, of course, then give the second dose when the other tranche of AstraZeneca comes in. So that is something that we will be deciding in the coming weeks once we get to 16,000, or half of the 33,000 of the first vaccine.”
Those in the first phase include healthcare workers and people 60 years and older with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
21 vaccine sites
The Ministry of Health has meanwhile identified 21 Covid-19 vaccine facilities throughout the country that will provide the vaccine.
Those who are part of NCD clinics at these facilities will not have to pre-register or make an appointment to get the vaccine. They will be offered the vaccine during their NCD clinic appointment.
Others members of the public who are 60 years and over with NCDs can call the designated Covid-19 vaccine facilities to make an appointment on non-NCD clinic days, the release said.
One thousand people are expected to be vaccinated per day. Vaccination is voluntary in this country.
The release also said that those receiving the Covid-19 vaccine should, on the day, ensure they have a good meal or non-alcoholic beverage and wear clothing that will provide easy access to the upper arm for vaccination.
The person is also to carry to the facility a valid form of identification, clinic card—where applicable—and immunisation card.
Should a person not have an immunisation card, one will be provided. This card will be updated with the type of Covid-19 vaccine administered, the date received and the next appointment date.
Those inoculated will remain in observation for 30 minutes before leaving the facility.
“Persons should return to the same facility for their second dose of the vaccine,” the release said.
A listing of the 21 designated Covid-19 facilities and contact numbers is available on the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 webpage.