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TCI proving COVID Safe; 21,000 tests so far with only 94 testing positive

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – March 21, 2021 – Tourists are living Covid-19 safe lifestyles when they vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the luxury resorts report that testing is averaging around 1,000 per day with no positives for the virus on most days.

“There is no place in the region safer than Turks and Caicos for vacations.  It’s like our guests are living in a safe bubble and now with the great work of the Ministry of Health, local numbers are down as well; so to me, Turks and Caicos is the safest vacation spot,” said Ken Patterson, CEO Seven Stars Resort.

Patterson informs his resort, which sits on World’s Leading Beach, Grace Bay has conducted 6,228 tests since the travel requirement came into force for the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in January 2021.

“Since January 25, we have tested 6,228 people and over that time only eight people have tested positive.  When they did, we turned that information over to the Ministry of Health which tested them again using the PCR method,” informed Patterson.

Like other resorts, there is a contingency plan for isolation and quarantine of guests who do end up with a positive for the coronavirus. 

Since the new travel requirements of leading source markets have kicked in, the TCI Ministry of Health Covid-19 dashboard reveals there have been 20,896 tests performed and 94 of those tests are returning positives for Covid-19.

Evidence that mandatory public health regulations for physical distancing, face mask wearing, reduced capacity at restaurants, bars and on pleasure boats are working to stave off any surge in cases of Covid-19; an enviable feat for the tiny islands which sit about 90-minutes, by plane, off the southern coast of Florida.

A report by Magnetic Media raised alarm and was a wrong reflection of the Ministry of Health situational report.  The Ministry explained that actually, the positives shown on the dashboard are reflective of new tests performed in a day and not positives for the coronavirus. 

“Nine hundred and two tests were carried out on March 19, 2021, with a total of three positive results reported for that date (0.3%).  The number of positives pale in comparison to the number of negatives.  Positive cases undergo confirmatory testing at the National Public Health Laboratory and are included with the total number of positives reported,” said a Saturday statement issued by the Ministry.

The Ministry of Health adds the rapid antigen testing, approved for 21 sites around the Turks and Caicos since January is taking samples from both locals and guests.

Vaccine distribution in the Turks and Caicos is also well underway, with over 32 percent of the adult population having had their first jab of the UK-gifted Pfizer/BioNtech brand of the Covid-19 vaccine.  Ken Patterson said most of his staff has already been inoculated; as many as 11,283 people across seven islands in the British overseas territory have receive the first shot 

Magnetic Media, on Saturday, issued a statement explaining the misinterpretation of the data on the dash board.  Our apologies for any inconvenience the report would have caused.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

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.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“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.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#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.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“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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