(CMC)— Trinidad and Tobago Wednesday reported a record 615 positive cases of COVID-19 as well as joining Jamaica in recording deaths linked to the pandemic.
The Ministry of Health in its latest bulletin said that the cases reflect a five day period and not for the last 24 hours.
“While the normal reporting timeframe covers samples taken within two to three days, the substantial increase in the positive cases and the resulting number of samples collected and processed at testing sites throughout the country, has affected the reporting timeline in this instance,” it said.
The Ministry said that the 99 cases reported on Monday “may have been as a result of the normal weekend closure of some of the testing sites and some of the health facilities where swabbing takes place”.
“This it should be underscored that the reported positive cases reflect a high percentage of infection within the population. The cases reflected a positivity rate in excess of 40 per cent, which is a cause for significant concern”.
According to the ministry, there are now 4, 588 active cases with 14, 417 positive cases since the first case was detected in March last year.
The authorities reported 11 more deaths pushing the total to 235. There are 439 people in state sanctioned quarantine, while 3, 548 are in home isolation.
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds told the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 press conference Wednesday that the increased number of deaths is due to the increased number of cases.
So far this month, a total of 2,978 new cases have been registered for the month of May, with 66 deaths as compared to 27 last month.
“The increased number of deaths is really as a result of the increased number of cases and although we note that we’ve implemented several measures of increasing levels of stringency, we also want to remind the population that the more stringent of these is actually still only very recently implemented,” Hinds told reporters.
“The most stringent (lockdown) measures being less than a week old, those of moderate stringency being around just under or just around the two week mark and we also have to bear in mind that each time one of these measures was implemented there was a little bit of a kick back, a rush to access whichever facility was being closed off at the time and those too would affect the figures. All of that has to work its way through the system before the numbers start to come down.
“Again this emphasizes the need for adherence to the public health measures, to recommendations we’ve been making to reduce mobility as much as possible, reduce contact as much as possible so that the measures that have been implemented have the braking effect that is desired. At this point, we still do expect that the numbers may get a little higher before they begin to decrease,” the epidemiologist said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley confirmed that the United States has donated two field hospitals to Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking on the state-owned television station, Rowley said the field hospitals are a response to rising numbers throughout the population, even as he indicated that “it is not out of control.
“What we are doing is to expand this capacity to respond in the event that we require more beds,” he said, adding that the hospitals would be established in Couva, in central Trinidad and Diego Martin, west of here.
“It is one of the responses if we are getting more people infected and there is a demand for more bed space. A field hospital is what you use to increase your bed space in the short term. It is not out of control, it is a response to what is happening as we experience a higher level of infection,” Rowley said, urging citizens to comply with measures in place to protect the population.
“The pandemic is not a joke,” he said, adding “take it seriously, the things that have to be done, we told that to you over and over and over. Each one of us if we do those things, we will not only protect ourselves but we will protect other people because those who are being infected are being infected by others.
“It is not a respecter of race, creed, class political suasion geography All over the country is exposed and all people are exposed. Now more than ever we have to be careful because we are seeing more and more young people falling to it,” said Rowley.