Tobago has recorded its first confirmed case of the Delta variant. The individual has no travel history and is not a known contact of any positive case.
The confirmation of the Delta variant was received via gene sequencing at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Laboratory, University of the West Indies. The Delta variant is more contagious than the previous strains of COVID-19, which means it spreads more easily.
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, Assemblyman Tracy Davidson Celestine said: “We need to brace ourselves for the community spread. This is the first case we know of and its origins are unknown. We now need to learn to live with COVID and that means we need to vaccinate, mask up and move on with our lives. As long as you are not vaccinated you are at risk and you can increase the risk of spread and that means some of us don’t get to normalise.”
The Secretary added: “Data has indicated that Delta is the cause of more severe illness in unvaccinated people. Studies in Canada and Scotland showed that patients with Delta were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with any other variant…but we also know that the majority of hospitalisation and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.”
Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern on the island. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people.
Testing for variants of concern will continue and the Division will continue to provide updates once variants are detected in Tobago.