Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has revealed that the country’s vaccination programme has stalled. This comes as the country 22 reported deaths from the COVID-19 virus yesterday—the second-highest in 24 hours. The highest number of deaths, 23, was recorded on May 18
The minister, who spoke at a COVID-19 media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s yesterday, said: “Over the past two weeks, we have been averaging roughly about 1,200 per day between first doses of a two-dose regime and the Johnson and Johnson one shot.”
He added that doctors and nurses are burned out and tired because people are not following health protocols.
“Quite frankly they are fed up. The doctors are telling me that patients are being treated by private-sector doctors at home with a combination of the following drugs Ivermectin, antibiotics to treat a viral infection. These patients are being given antibiotics as first-line therapy. What the doctors reported to me yesterday is that these patients are hypoxic at home, which means you don’t have enough oxygen. This is for three to five days before calling the ambulance,” he said
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds said that every county has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“Previously we saw where some have an increase and some have a decrease and that kept the numbers the same week to week. We have seen now an increase across the board from one week to the next,” he said.
He said with the spike in cases over the last few weeks there had been an accelerated increase and upswing in the rolling average.
“There has been a steady week-on-week increase, at first smaller but getting larger from one week to the next as we move from week 40 to week 45. This is a cause for concern and it is also reflected in what we call the percentage positivity, meaning the COVID tests that were done that come back as positive.
“When we look at data from the monthly time scale we see October being higher than the previous three months and November rapidly catching up. The monthly positives for November hovers around 35 per cent as opposed to the 25 per cent to 35 per cent we have been seeing from July to the months of September and October,” Hinds said
Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said there is a grim situation with the occupancy levels in the parallel healthcare system, with 91 additional admissions for the past week compared to 56 in the previous week.
“The increases that we are noting tend to be for patients that are being admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). ICU levels patients require much more significant resources and also spend a longer time receiving care,” she said.
Dr Abdool-Richards said that the overall occupancy percentage in the parallel healthcare system for 114 days had been less than 40 per cent.
‘That period was between July 15 and November 9. However in the last few weeks that overall occupancy level has increased significantly and this morning our overall occupancy across Trinidad and Tobago is 48 per cent. We have shared that 90 per cent of patients in our ICU are not fully vaccinated. In Tobago, four of the five beds are filled and none are fully vaccinated. This is worrisome.”
The latest figures from the Ministry of Health show that 22 more people have died from COVID-19, pushing up the death toll to 1,850. In addition, 403 people have tested positive for the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the number of active cases to 6,732.