Deyalsingh praises Pt Fortin mayor for cancelling Borough Day events

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

FLASHBACK: Revellers in Point Fortin Borough Day celebrations in 2017 –

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh praised Point Fortin Mayor Saleema Thomas for her cancelling several public events which were scheduled for Point Fortin Borough Day celebrations.

On Wednesday, during the ministry’s covid19 media briefing, Deyalsingh said data available to the ministry suggests there could be a 30 per cent increase in covid19 cases by this weekend.

“That is concerning to us. The rolling seven-day average increased by 85 per cent. We can’t ignore these numbers, and we did share these numbers with the mayor.”

Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds supported Deyalsingh’s assessment of the data. While cases were declining from last December to March, Hinds said, “Now we are starting to see an increasing trend in the daily numbers throughout the month of April. The seven-day rolling average bears testimony to that.”

Deyalsingh reminded the media that the new Point Fortin Hospital was recently de-commissioned as a covid19 hospital.

“People can access primary and secondary (health) care in Point Fortin without going to San Fernando. That’s a big gain for Point Fortin.”

He asked if people wanted to risk an explosion of covid19 cases in Point Fortin and cause that hospital to revert to a covid19 facility.

“The answer is no.”

Such a move, he said, could have wider implications for the parallel health care system and the public health care system.

“If we not careful and throw caution to the wind, and we get an explosion in hospital cases, the ripple effect of that could be the delay of decommissioning Arima as a covid facility.

In this context, Deyalsingh reiterated that Thomas took the right decision.

“I know it would not have been easy, but she made the right call to help protect her burgesses and the national community and the public health system.”

Deyalsingh was non-committal as to whether similar considerations would be made regarding Tobago’s Carnival in October.

“On any other future event, we’ll cross those bridges when we come to it.”

While people have greater opportunities to congregate with many public health restrictions being relaxed, Deyalsingh and Hinds said that congregation must happen responsibly.

While he has been attending more public events in person in recent times, Deyalsingh said he does a case-by-case assessment to determine his risk of exposure to covid19

On Monday, Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi said some of the major Borough Day events were cancelled to avoid a possible covid19 explosion.

“We are urging people to remember we are still in a pandemic and to manage it.”

On the Chronic Disease Assistance Programme (CDAP), Deyalsingh said, “I meet with the principal pharmacist on a regular basis. What we have found is that individual pharmacies may not be ordering their CDAP drugs on time.

“It is not that there are no CDAP drugs or a shortage. We have to work with the pharmacies for them to order their drugs on time so patients can access it.”