Tuesday 29 September, 2020

Dr Hinds: Expect rise in COVID-19 infections

Health officials expect to see an increase in the number of cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within the coming days.

Technical Director of the Epidemiology Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr Avery Hinds at the Ministry’s virtual media briefing on Wednesday indicated that with a rise in movement and gathering in recent days an increase in infections is more than likely.

“As you have seen there has been a fair amount of gathering and movement in the past few days which we alluded to, we expect will cause an increase in the number of cases,” he said.

Dr Hinds said approximately 64 percent of the virus cases are associated with clusters. Settings like bars, religious gatherings and other places of gathering present the highest risk for transmission, he advised.

With a steady rise over the last few weeks in cases pending epidemiological investigation, the medical expert sought to offer a clearer picture of the process involved in determining how a patient contracted the virus.  

“One of the things we need to clarify or get a better understanding out to the public is what we mean by pending epidemiological investigation.

When we begin an epidemiological investigation, we don’t walk up to someone and scan the QR code on their foreheads and get all their epidemiological information.

It's a process where we ask about activities, we ask about interactions and we ask about locations.”

He said this process of investigation gives health officials an idea of how patients might have been exposed or who they might have exposed to the virus.

Dr Hinds reiterated the advice of health officials for people to stay home if they are feeling ill or exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

He added that citizens should not hesitate to seek medical attention if they are experiencing more serious symptoms like shortness of breath and difficulty breathing normally.

“We are urging anyone if they are ill not to go to school, not to go to work, not to go to any of the other gatherings they would have gone to but to isolate themselves at home from their families as well, following the precautions such as hand washing and staying in your room and not sharing utensils and spaces even within the household.

If the symptoms are more serious and require medical care, we encourage you not to hesitate to seek that care. So, muscle fatigue, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath, any of those things definitely do not remain at home with those things, definitely go out and seek care.”

Dr Hinds said there has been an increase in people presenting at medical institutions which suggests that this advice is being heeded.

Trinidad and Tobago currently has 161 active cases, with eight new infections reported in the numbers available as of Wednesday morning. 

The country's confirmed cases of the coronavirus stands at 308, at this time.

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