THE Ministry of Health continues to monitor pneumonia and such related deaths.
Speaking at Monday’s virtual health press conference to update on Covid-19, technical director of the Epidemiological Division Dr Avery Hinds said that, on average, deaths from pneumonia for this year have not surpassed the average number.
He said, “We continue to monitor for what we call excess mortality, more deaths than we expect, more deaths than is usual, and while we do see that there have been increases between May and August, those increases have not yet surpassed the average.”
Hinds added that they have been continuously monitoring month to month mortality from pneumonia related causes. “What we’ve done is, in conjunction with the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Office of the Registrar General, we have been looking at the patterns of mortality, both all cause meaning everyone and whatever they died from and specifically anything that referenced pneumonia as the cause of deaths.”
He described this as another good metric for whether there are unreported or undetected issues that the health system needs to address.
He also said the ministry took comfort from the data as, “It recognizes that we do not have an uncontrolled and undocumented issue and that the intervention of the health system may be in fact managing to prevent excess mortality at this point in time. Continuing to hold fast to the public health measures and to improve our compliance with those measures, will also improve the mortality in this particular domain outside of the people that actually come forward for testing, this is just across the board.”
In speaking to the distribution of Covid-19 cases and deaths, Hinds said that those in the 25 to 49 age group occupy 56 percent of the total number of Covid-19 positive people.
He said that while the fatalities show individuals in the above 60 age group being in the majority, fatalities have not been limited to people in that bracket. “There have been fatalities as far down as the 35 to 39 age group and those are in the minority but they emphasize the importance of everyone regardless of age, take note of symptoms to access care early especially if they are aware of having any underlying conditions but even if you’re not aware, the emphasis today is on ensuring that the entire population takes respiratory symptoms in a more serious manner because no one is immune to the virus and no one is assured that they will not have an adverse outcome as there are fatalities in the 35 to 39 age bracket.”
Hinds also presented a slide showing that the number of Covid-19 cases had been growing in areas where it was not previously seen, particular on the eastern side of the country. He said, “Where there are people, there is virus there is no particular location that is immune or virus free and we do need to apply the measures and recommendations across the board in order to slow the spread of the virus to the greatest extent that we can.”
Hinds said that data also showed that people have been testing more at the beginning of the week, on a Monday or Tuesday. He however added, “As you progress towards September, we are seeing slightly smaller numbers and we are hoping that this trend indicates that he measures that have been implemented are beginning to take some sort of effect. It does take a few weeks for the effect of public health measures to start to be seen and we’re hoping that this is actually the start of that trend.”
Hinds said the Ministry will continue to monitor and update.