Health

TCI: From 11 to 30 COVID cases in a week

#TurksandCaicos, July 20 2021 – One week ago, Turks and Caicos was at 11 active cases of the Coronavirus. Today, that figure has nearly tripled with 30 active cases and most of these new infections are guests to the country.

Nine new cases were recorded over the weekend; at least seven were tourists. When TCI was at 21 active cases on Friday; one person who caught the virus worked at the airport, one worked at a bank, three were from the Civil Service and 12 were tourists.

When the health minister, E. Jay Saunders held a press conference on Friday he informed that 40 per cent were male, 60 per cent female; most of the 21 infected were from the age group of 20 to 59, 75 per cent and the large majority had no idea they had Covid-19 because they were non symptomatic. 

While it may have been a bit more reassuring to hear – at that time – that most of those infected were in the tourist category; it was still concerning to learn that three people caught Covid-19 because they were in contact with an infected person. 

The other five cases were community spread; people whom the Department of Epidemiology could find no link to the current cases. 

Hon Saunders, Deputy Premier said there is concern though Health is neither panicked or surprised as the July 1 softening of restrictions allowed people to come together in party environments, which would naturally result in a spike. 

All of the new Covid-19 cases are charted for the island of Providenciales. 

Party Responsibly; Roll Back could be Rapped Back!

The current relaxed restrictions are not written in stone; residents could see the roll back, rapped back if cases were to begin an exponential boom. 

Deputy Premier E. Jay Saunders, who is also the Minister of Health on Friday assured there would be no change to the current curfew (which is set at 1 a.m.) or business operation hours, (which is midnight) and capacity rule (which is 70 per cent) if residents looked at Covid-19 control as a partnership and helped to keep numbers of infections down. 

The Minister is asking people to be responsible amidst the pandemic and there is still a pandemic going on. 

Cases are surging globally, again particularly as a result of the Delta variant which is 60 per cent more infectious.  Turks and Caicos, said Saunders has not seen the Delta variant.  What Turks and Caicos will see, however, is a departure of the Cuban medical brigade by the end of July and the hospital is now trying to find ways to fill the personnel gap this group leaving will create.

Currently, no one has had to be hospitalised for Covid-19 among the 30 new infections recorded.  Turks and Caicos’ daily increase remains in the single digits but if that were to change to double digits and grow to 30 to 50 cases active; then more stern restrictions will be re-introduced, promised the Minister.

Health Department needs boost; Contract Tracing not done on Tourist infections

At least three tourist families make up the cases of Covid-19 which have been recorded among guests to the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Such an unusual occurrence is this,  it has many asking questions including whether or not the guests were vaccinated and whether these guests were exposed to the coronavirus at the same resort or at the same event or while enjoying the same service. 

The latter fact is unknown, and in speaking with E. Jay Saunders the Minister of Health, Deputy Premier he revealed that the health team is concerned.  He also said, the fact that he is unable to report what is ground zero for these cases, exposes a defect.  That defect, is the Epidemiology Department must be better resourced so that it can carry out its contact tracing activities more vigorously.

Saunders says he is prepared to make the investment to improve the capacity of Epidemiology. 

So, at this stage… it is unclear if the three guest families are connected in any way, which could explain the anomaly.  None of the infected in this recent rash of new infections are break-out cases, which means the people now appearing as new infections for Turks and Caicos are all unvaccinated, said Hon Saunders.   

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