File photo: Scarborough General Hospital, Tobago.
In the face of rising covid19 infections and deaths, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has confirmed that the assembly is working on a comprehensive covid19 action plan.
Speaking on the Tobago Updates morning show on Friday, Augustine said he was optimistic.
“For the first time in a long time, since this covid19 thing started, I am hopeful. I am hopeful because of the plans I am privy to are plans that – they are drastic, but I think they move us in the right direction.”
On January 3, Dr Nathaniel Duke was contracted by the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) as one of the island’s medical chiefs of staff. Augustine said, at the moment, Duke is assisting with building out the covid19 response.
“Our first line of attack is to reduce the mortality rate, because that is too high. There is no need for us to have so many deaths as a result of covid19. So we’re looking at drastic ways of reducing that, which has to do with us improving, updating, rather, our pattern of care and how we treat those who are ill in this regard.”
He said additionally, as soon as next week, an educational drive will begin “about how you are to cope with covid19 – so you get infected, we would be having our physiotherapist, as I’ve been told by Secretary (Faith) BYisrael,,,come and teach people breathing exercises, ways that you should lie on the bed or on a sofa with a pillow, that you keep the lungs clear enough that you keep breathing properly and so on. One of the things that we have not explored..is what should you do if you contract the virus, what should you do if you become ill.”
Contacted for comment, Minority Leader Kelvon Morris said: “It is clear they agree with me that we need a comprehensive plan which was not in place at the time I made that call. I continue to indicate my willingness to work with the Executive on this serious matter of preserving the lives and livelihood of Tobagonians against this deadly covid19 virus.”
The island recorded its first covid19 death in April 2020.
On Friday, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection said there were 68 new covid19 cases in Tobago. This brought the number of active cases on the island to 1,300.
The death toll remains at 220.
The division also reported that 37 people are hospitalised, one of whom is partially vaccinated. Seven are fully vaccinated and 29 unvaccinated.
It said there are 4,767 recovered patients.
In December, the division bought a 20-foot refrigerated container which can hold up to 45 bodies. It was installed at the Scarborough General Hospital mortuary and is now in use. Augustine said previously that the container was being installed because the morgue was full.
The island recorded multiple covid19 deaths daily for most of December, which puta strain on space at the mortuary, where bodies were having to be stored side by side in drawers.