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TCI: COVID Testing at Public Schools coming

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#TurksandCaicos, September 13, 2021 – Teachers across the sector will have to be vaccinated or tested twice weekly for the coronavirus as TCI cautiously sticks to its plan for a return to face to face learning in full.

“We are putting mechanisms in place in conjunction with the ministry of Health, to train persons from the schools who will be responsible for administering the antigen rapid tests, which will take some of the burden off the ministry of health,” said Hon Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service.

“We will allow two persons from each school to go through this training, but while we await that training to take place, testing will continue for unvaccinated teachers only.”

While some schools have had no choice but to continue hybrid learning programs due to space deficiencies and out of an abundance of caution, there is no mandate for schools to bring everyone back if they are unable to do so within public health regulations.

Testing sites in Providenciales are the Blue Hills clinic in Blue Hills from 9am to 4pm on Fridays and at the National Stadium from 9amto 4pm on Fridays.

Contact tracing and the uptick in Covid 19 cases is taxing the manpower capacity of the Ministry of Health, explained Taylor in her September 3rd press conference from the Office of the Premier in Provo.

“We are encouraging the teachers to ensure that they get tested during these times.”

Once the training – schedule to happen within September – is completed, antigen testing will be performed at the school site.

A meeting  ahead of school’s reopening to students was hosted by the Ministry of Health for teachers in both the private and public sector.

Minister Taylor explained, the session was aimed at allaying fears and giving doctor responses to questions about safety amidst the pandemic.  Most teachers were concerned about mask mandates; assurances were given that masks or face coverings will remain mandatory for the vaccinated and unvaccinated for both students and staff.

The Minister reported four teacher resignations; due to job offers abroad and some due to the mandatory vaccination policy for expatriate workers.  The policy for mandatory vaccination of work permit holders in Turks and Caicos took effect on September 1.

Additionally, the back to school vaccination drive did not yield the kind of returns the Ministries of Education and Health were hoping for.  The drive which had a seven day run was designed for the over 12 year olds to begin their Pfizer doses.

Dr. Nadia Astwood, Chief Medical Officer for the Turks and Caicos expressed during her media session that not enough children are getting vaccinated and of the hundreds who are eligible to take the Pfizer vaccine, only 126 have received both doses.

One hundred and sixty-one students have gotten the first jab.

Dr. Astwood said the Ministry of Health will continue to promote vaccination in this age group.

Education Minister Rachel Taylor expressed similar sentiments.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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