Highlights from today’s (06.05.2020) Virtual Health Media Conference

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In case you missed it, here are the key points from today’s Virtual Media Conference:

  • Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh noted that there is a spirit of complacency in T&T, since many people believe we have beaten the virus. But he said this is not the case: “The fires are still raging.”
  • Minister Deyalsingh confirmed that 524 Community Tests have been administered and all returned negative.
  • Minister Deyalsingh said providing mental health support for the population is of paramount importance during the pandemic.
  • Director of the Mental Health Unit at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hazel Othello, outlined a National Plan to treat with mental health and COVID-19. She said there must be a robust response to protect and preserve mental health and reduce suffering.
  • The COVID-19 Hotline will soon be equipped to handle distressed callers who are seeking mental health support to deal with anxieties related to the pandemic. Some signs of anxiety include physical symptoms like increased heart rate, profuse sweating, and a tense or “nervous” feeling.
  • Upcoming mental health initiatives by the Health Ministry include:
    -Training for Ministry of Health COVID-19 Helpline Responders so they can better help distressed callers.
    -Private sector sponsored Employee Assistance Programme services to Ministry of Health employees.
    -Webinars targeting specific groups to provide support and build resilience.
  • Dr. Othello advised parents whose children are writing exams to let them know that exams do not define them. Parents should not put pressure on children. They should inform their children that their lives do not begin and end with an exam. For parents who are teaching their children during this time, do not exhibit frustration, instead show patience when teaching, have shorter class sessions, and include regular breaks. Play games and read to your children.
  • Students writing exams are advised to continue preparations. Revise but also take time for recreation – exercise, and do things that contribute to making a complete, all-round person.
  • The Health Minister urged businesses and the everyday public to use common sense when the country is eventually reopened. For instance, barbershops and salons should not have congregations of 10 people, and workers and customers at these establishments should use face masks.
  • Minister Deyalsingh stated that COVID-19 tests are done by CARPHA and the UWI Testing Site.
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