#TurksandCaicosIslands – April 18, 2020 — A Turks and Caicos patient has shockingly tested positive for COVID-19 after being airlifted to Jamaica for advanced critical care for a non-COVID-19 related illness.
The scenario has caused quite in stir in both jurisdictions today.
Jamaicans took to social media, to question how their health authorities could have accepted a COVID-19 positive case from the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Turks and Caicos residents expressed concern that the medically evacuated patient was unknowingly sick with the coronavirus at the local hospital.
The University Hospital of the West Indies, (UHWI) which regularly facilitates the TCI’s Treatment Abroad Program, issued a statement which explained the patient was never considered a COVID-19 medical evacuee.
“The patient was already intubated and had a viral filtration system. Based on the UHWI’s screening form, at no time was the patient considered to be a COVID-19 patient, but out of an abundance of caution, the UHWI decided to test the patient. The result is positive and the patient remains stable in the COVID-19 ICU.”
The UHWI statement informed that the patient was not new to the facility and arrived in Jamaica from the Turks and Caicos on April 16, met by staff donning full personal protective equipment or PPEs.
“The patient, a cancer patient of the (UHWI) Hospital had a bleeding gastric cancer treated on March 16, 2020 and was released and returned home to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on March 26, 2020. The patient had an emergency reoperation in the TCI and a request was made for advanced critical care, a service usually provided for all our contributing territories by the UHWI.”
The admittance of the critical patient was a decision made in consultation with the Emergency Operation Centre of the Jamaica Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of National Security of Jamaica and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.
The statement was issued to correct information, said UHWI.
It had been reported that the Head of Surgery at UHWI and other staffers were sent home for self-quarantine as a result of the unexpected positive for and possible exposure to the coronavirus due to the Turks and Caicos patient.
Magnetic Media and the general public are still awaiting an official statement on the matter from the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health Agriculture and Human Services.
Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.
The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.
The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year. In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.
In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources
By Sherrica Thompson
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.
Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.
“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.
“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”
Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.
Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.
She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.
There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.
Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.
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