Highlights from today’s (1.05.2020) 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 reminded that the parallel health care system is up and running, and parents and guardians should ensure their children are immunised. HIV clinics are also up and running and patients are urged to continue treatment. Persons with lifestyle diseases like diabetes are urged to continue treatment and to check in with their clinics which have slightly modified operations. Homes for the Aged and Nursing Homes are encouraged to continue following policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 at these institutions.
  • To date, 304 persons have undergone Community Testing for COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, and all tests returned Negative.
  • The following is the update on COVID-19 patients across the various facilities:
    Caura: No patients
    Couva: 6 patients
    Sangre Grande Step Down Facility: 8 patients
    Home of Football Step Down Facility: 21 patients
    Tacarigua Convalescent Centre: 33 (Barbados group)
  • Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram confirmed that the COVID-19 Test Site at the North Central Regional Health Authority is up and running, and samples have been received there.
  • Dr. Parasram confirmed that the UWI Campus site at Debe is ready to receive the 70 TT Nationals who are returning from Suriname. He visited yesterday to ensure everything is ready. The County Medical Officer of Health is on site to receive the Nationals who will be quarantined upon their arrival.
  • Dr. Parasram confirmed that the two most recent COVID-19 Positive cases (#115 and #116) seemed to be as a result of Local Spread (not imported). He said mitigation measures and contact tracing have been done to ensure spread is contained. He stated: “Our key goal for those cases is really to ring-fence those cases as quickly as we can, which we have done. So we’ve earmarked Primary, Secondary and Tertiary contacts and we hope that no Hidden contacts are out and about with diseases emanating from those sources.”
  • Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Marlon Rampaul, highlighted some measures to keep COVID-19 at bay at Nursing and Senior Citizens Homes. They include:
    -Making staff aware of policies.
    -Wearing face masks, inclusive of cloth masks.
    -Putting a system in place to regularly check staff and residents’ temperatures.
    -Restricting family visits but using other options like video conferencing to keep the connection between relatives. If family members need to visit, they must wear masks.
    -Practicing hand hygiene.
    -Installing dispensers for hand sanitisers at key locations at these Homes.
  • Dr. Rampaul noted that cruise ships present a fertile ground for the spread of infectious diseases as it is difficult to maintain social distancing due to confined spaces on board these vessels. The spread of gastroenteritis and now COVID-19 is easier in this type of environment. Dr. Parasram added that there will be changes in policies for cruise ships in the future to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
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