Port Of Spain – Health authorities Monday warned of an increase in cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the Trinidad and Tobago and blamed the situation on the Delta variant of the pandemic that has so far killed 1 698 and infected 57 329 others since March last year.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported 14 deaths and 208 new positive cases including 20 new cases of the Delta variant, bringing the total number of cases to 156.
Epidemiologist, Dr Avery Hinds, speaking at the weekly news conference of the Ministry of Health said the overall infection numbers are increasing, expressing concerns at the Delta cases.
“We have increasing numbers of Delta cases that we have detected and we have also made the point that there are increasing Delta cases that we have no detected ad this represents the tendency of this particular variant very quickly to establish itself as the dominant circulating variant.
“I would not say that this is the case but it could become the case because the Delta variant in other countries have demonstrated that same tendency,” Hinds told reporters.
He said over the past weeks, the majority of counties here have been reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“In fact the majority of the counties have seen increases reflective . . . in the overall increasing trend we saw in weeks 41 to 42. So around the country we are seeing increased cases,” he said, noting that while there may be some fluctuations “over the last three weeks in most counties we have seen progressively increase cases in each grouping.
Hinds said the increased movement of people as the local economy has started re-opening may also account for the increase in cases and Surged persons to get vaccinated.
“So we are seeing the additional movements . . . and as we go into the festive season more movement is expected. We also note that we have been providing guidance and guidelines on how to reduce the risk of transmission even as we move about more . . . and those guidelines haven’t changed,” he said.
Principal Medical Officer for Institutions, Maryam Abdool-Richards, warned that more and more COVID-19- positive people are requiring hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) treatment, and nearly all are unvaccinated.
“We have been observing that over the last two weeks, persons are presenting in a status that requires immediate ICU care. So, as they call, the ambulance arrives at the A&E departments, we have to start giving them oxygen, we have to put them on ventilatory support and ICU-level treatment,” she said.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said the vaccination numbers have fallen significantly, with just about 1 000 people coming in for a first dose daily.
“What is happening is that the unvaccinated are posing a clear and present danger now to the vaccinated,” he said, adding that soon doctors would have to begin choosing between patients to give resources to.
“I am again pleading with the unvaccinated to consider being vaccinated as part of your civic duty to make our doctors and nurses not have to make those life-and-death decisions to allocate scarce resources to you. We do not want to shut down our outpatient clinics again.” (CMC)