TRINIDAD and Tobago yesterday recorded its highest rate of infection for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, with the Ministry of Health announcing 81 new cases last evening.
This country’s total as of yesterday stood at 767 confirmed cases, with 615 active cases.
In its morning update at 10 a.m., the ministry had advised of the confirmation of 44 new cases and, by 6 p.m., said an additional 37 positive cases had been confirmed.
Of those, 25 active cases are currently being treated in Tobago.
The second-highest case load per day was recorded on August 13, with 78 cases, that brought the total to 404. However, authorities had indicated delayed results were among that figure.
Yesterday’s stunning figure came on the heels of a warning on Monday by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram that the coronavirus had the potential to explode exponentially within the population in a very short time.
Parasram last week confirmed T&T had reached the stage of “community spread”, and he had recommended to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that this country be described as such.
Community spread means there is an increased number of cases where the possible source of transmission is as yet unidentified or is not shown to be linked to a known cluster of cases.
Trinidad and Tobago is also in phase two of the pandemic locally, which began a month ago with a patient who became known as “Case 139”.
Since July 20, the country recorded 628 cases and four deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 12.
The CMO on Monday warned that T&T was at a critical stage of this phase and appealed to the public at large to play its part in flattening the curve.
Parasram had warned that while medical authorities were keeping a close eye on the rate of infection, the population had a role to “ensure the rapid numbers don’t occur to an extent that we become overwhelmed in the healthcare system”.
The CMO had said the figures as of Monday were indicative of a “sharp, exponential rise”, and while the public health system was not yet overburdened and was coping, it could quickly become incapacitated if the rates increased.
He had warned if public health regulations were flouted, the country would see “400 become 800 and then 1,600” positive cases.
He went on to plead for compliance with public health regulations intended to stymie the spread of the virus, “to ensure the rapid numbers don’t occur to an extent that we become overwhelmed in the healthcare system”.
Following nearly two months of no signs of the virus being present within the population at large—the majority of cases having been imported—Government in June had eased restrictions on non-essential movement, business and recreation.
This was done with a warning, including from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, to the national community that it was expected to assume a front-line role in the battle against the highly contagious virus.
As of yesterday, the number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) stood at 18,036.
The number of samples testing positive was at 767 and the total number of active cases is 615.
The number of deaths remains at 12 people and the number of people discharged so far at 140.
The number of Covid-19 positive patients in hospital was at 143, with 118 patients en route/being admitted to hospital as of yesterday morning.
Two hundred and thirty-seven patients were at step-down facilities, with 19 at the Brooklyn Facility in Sangre Grande; 31 at Balandra; 40 at Tacarigua; 60 at The UWI, Debe; 81 at The UWI, St Augustine; and six at NAPA, Port of Spain.
UK quarantine for T&T nationals
And T&T nationals entering the United Kingdom will now be obligated to quarantine for two weeks.
The UK has removed this country from its list of Covid-19 safe territories, prior to which T&T nationals would have been exempt from the 14-day quarantine.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps had also tweeted that T&T should be removed from the UK’s travel corridor list in order to keep that country’s infection rates down.
According to the UK’s guidance on Covid-19 travel corridors, anyone leaving Trinidad and Tobago for the UK after Saturday, August 22, at 4 a.m., will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Austria and Croatia are also to be removed from the UK’s safe list on Saturday.
“If you arrive in England from Austria, Croatia or Trinidad and Tobago after 4 a.m., August 22, you will need to self-isolate,” the guidance list said.
“If you arrive in England from Austria, Croatia or Trinidad and Tobago before 4 a.m., August 22, you may not need to self-isolate.”
Closed for sanitisation
And Covid-19 continues to affect businesses locally, with cable and Internet provider Flow announcing yesterday that its Chaguanas retail store was closed for sanitisation after an employee presented with Covid-19 symptoms.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, Flow said “within the past 48 hours, one of its employees presented with symptoms of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and is currently in self-isolation and awaiting the results of tests”.
“The company is closely monitoring the situation,” Flow said.