Highlights from today’s (5.05.2020) Virtual Health Media Conference

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

  • Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the strict adherence to protocols has saved T&T from the worst during the COVID-19 pandemic. On calls for T&T to utilise antibody testing, he said T&T’s long term approach to testing (using PCR machines) has shown to be effective, safe, and in the best interest of all.
  • Minister Deyalsingh said citizens must change and adjust their expectations on what their social lives will be going forward. He advised citizens to exhibit personal responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that the virus does not have to adapt to our environment, but people have to adapt to the virus. He said: “The days of partying, drinking, that type of thing, we all need to readjust what we expect out of life going forward.”
  • The Minister of Health will determine how social gatherings will look in the future.
  • Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram confirmed that the 33 TT Nationals who returned from Barbados two weeks ago will be discharged today after spending 14 days in quarantine.
  • Dr. Saed Rahaman, Director of Veterinary Public Health at the Ministry of Health, addressed COVID-19 workplace public health measures. He said there must be a paradigm shift for employers, employees, and the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Dr. Saed Rahaman: It is important for employers to stagger employees during work hours, including in shared spaces such as lunchrooms. Employers must ensure workers are six feet away from each other, or if this is impossible, employers must use barriers/dividers to prevent spread of germs. Where possible, workstations should be moved further apart. The Ministry of Health is advocating the use of virtual meetings to prevent employees from gathering in one area. Employers can also move tasks and meetings to times where fewer workers will be in the building.
  • Dr. Saed Rahaman: Employers must provide adequate soap, water and disposable towels for employees to use after each break, bathroom visit, etc. It is necessary to set schedules for frequent restocking of these supplies as well as collection and removal of trash. Hand sanitisers with 65% alcohol should also be provided at workplaces.
  • Soap and water remain the best agent for prevention of COVID-19. Another cheap and effective way to clean surfaces is to use 5 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water. This presents no danger to people, and can be used during work hours with employees present.
  • All employees should know the signs, symptoms, risk factors and preventative measures of COVID-19. Employers should not take it for granted that their workers understand everything on COVID-19, as some may not be able to speak/understand fluent English. It is important for employers to demonstrate proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette to workers.
  • Employers must ensure workers with flu like symptoms stay home, or they must return home immediately if they become sick on the job.
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