Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Citizens reminded: Stay home when ill

Stock image.

Stock image.

Citizens are being reminded to stay away from work if they feel ill.

The reminder came from County Medical Officer of Health for St Andrew/St David, Allana Quamina-Best, after 45 people had to be quarantined because of exposure to one COVID-19 positive case at the workplace.

At the Ministry of Health’s virtual media briefing on Wednesday, Dr Quamina-Best said there must be consistent wearing of masks and adherence to other protocols to limit the spread of the virus, which has so far claimed 58 lives.

She said: “As you would imagine, in the work scenario you are comfortable with your colleagues, and so we may drop our guard.

In this instance, there was no consistent wearing of masks and persons were interacting with each other in very close proximity.”

The County Medical Officer of Health noted that there have been instances of people with COVID-19 symptoms reporting for work because of a sense of duty and not wanting to overburden coworkers.

Days later, however, she said people are testing positive for COVID-19 after unnecessarily exposing their colleagues to the virus.

“Whether you have been exposed to someone, are having symptoms or you have had a swab and are awaiting results you should not be at work,” she said.

Dr Quamina-Best suggested employers come up with a system of daily check-ins with staff to determine early on whether anyone is unwell and should get tested.

She said this practice would identify potentially ill employees and safeguard business operations by reducing the exposure of other staff members.

Meanwhile, she recommended that families appoint a designated caregiver in the home should other family members fall ill.

In this way, she said if the sick person tests positive for COVID-19 the more vulnerable people in the household would be protected.

The designated caregiver should not be older than 60 or have underlying chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes or asthma.

She also reminded those quarantined at home that they shouldn’t be allowing people to visit.

She discouraged this practice as she said it creates a situation of unnecessary exposure.

The CMOH recounted one such instance in which an elderly man in Sangre Grande fell ill and 12 relatives then went to visit him.

She said that interaction led to an additional “two or three people” contracting the virus in a completely unavoidable situation.

For patients in home quarantine who may have concerns about access to food, she urged them to notify their respective CMOH surveillance team which would contact the Red Cross to offer assistance where possible.

Potential COVID-19 symptoms include fever, body pains, cough, runny nose, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of taste and loss of smell.

As of Wednesday night, T&T’s confirmed cases stood at 3,327 with 2,459 of those cases being active.

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