Wednesday 23 September, 2020

CMO on new infections, change in COVID-19 case reporting

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram has explained that the 18 new COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday morning show results from samples taken during the period July 31 to August 7, and is not representative of the positive cases over the last 24 hours only.

Noting the significant increase in numbers between Friday and Saturday morning, Parasram said this is due to a change in the way the positive COVID-19 cases are reported.

He further explained that positive samples from the University of the West Indies site are sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to ensure quality assurance.

"Those cases represent persons that would have been swabbed from July 31 to all the way up to August 7. It represents more than a week period where we would have received the positive results for those individuals. What has been happening and what has resulted in that sort of reporting from the lab side of it, is that from the beginning of the set up of the University of the West Indies lab, we had agreed for quality assurance that any positives would be sent to the Trinidad Public Health Lab, and thereafter to the CARPHA for confirmation. What was happening was once we got positives, they were batched and sent to the Trinidad Public Health Lab and then CARPHA."

The Chief Medical Officer added that during the first phase of the epidemic, he received the results on a real time basis. However, he said there is now a lag of seven days.

"There has been a change in the way the reporting has occurred from the Trinidad Public Health Lab. In phase one of the epidemic, I would have been given reports on a real time basis directly by WhatsApp in the first instance, and followed by formal updates to basically what the test results were for every individual. Now I am receiving for over about five to seven days, a lag of seven days."

As of Saturday morning, Trinidad and Tobago had recorded 243 positive COVID-19 cases. There are currently 100 active cases of the virus.

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