(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Monday 23 March, 2020): The Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital received a public health notification that a temporary worker who visited the country on March 8th – 13th 2020 to facilitate mandatory training with a group of hospital employees tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after his return home to the United States.
The temporary worker is a 35-year-old American male and he is currently being isolated at home in the USA in stable condition. Whilst the male is classified as an overseas confirmed COVID-19 case, the decision was made to share the circumstances surrounding the case in the public’s interest. The training sessions with hospital employees were held on March 9th – 12th at Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
The Turks and Caicos Islands and the primary U.S. state from which the temporary worker travelled and resided had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the time of travel. In addition, there were no causes for concern identified during his screening upon entry to Providenciales and he was asymptomatic while on island. Investigations are ongoing to determine how and at what point in time the male may have contracted the virus.
Since becoming aware of the result and out of an abundance of caution, contact tracing was immediately activated by the TCI Government Ministry of Health Public Health Department in partnership with TCI Hospital and with guidance from Public Health England.
According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, people are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic. However, given the scientific speculation surrounding whether it might be possible for asymptomatic persons to spread the virus in small amounts, Providenciales-based hospital employees and other persons who were in contact with the affected male were placed under quarantine as a precaution pending test results from samples collected. These tests are being expedited and thus far two results have returned as negative.
Temporary and resident health care workers and patients returning to the Turks and Caicos Islands from overseas medical care facilities have been required to undergo a risk assessment process to prevent the risk and spread of COVID-19. Based on the risk level, this may include a requirement to quarantine as determined by TCIG MOHAHS Public Health Team.
The Ministry of Health and TCI Hospital continues to be engaged in dialogue throughout this public health challenge. The Ministry fully supports these prudent and necessary measures as we fight the risk and potential spread of COVID-19.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE; TCI HOSPITALS & TCI MINISTRY OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES