THA Health Secretary warns of covid19 increase

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

An aerial view of the Scarborough Esplanade at Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago. Photo by Jeff Mayers.

THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection is issuing an appeal for people to be responsible in light of the latest uptick in covid19 cases in Tobago.

On Friday, the division reported 95 new cases.

It said there had been one death, adding the patient was fully vaccinated.

The total number of deaths on the island to date is 265.

The update said 12 patients are hospitalised: nine unvaccinated and three fully vaccinated.

The number of active cases is 451 with 7,941 people recovered to date.

Previously, on April 22, 48 cases were reported, with 20 on April 24 and 63 on April 26. The latest numbers therefore reflect an increase in cases over the last week.

Addressing the issues on Tobago updates morning show on Friday, Health Sercretary Dr Faith BYisrael recalled a couple weeks ago as the country was reopening, “I reminded us that we needed to have this delicate balance between economic activities that need to happen and the medical responsible thing to do.”

She said the island has seen economic activities restart and now it is seeing the numbers coming back as a result of the movement that followed the lifting of the restrictions.

“You went from hearing the word ‘pandemic’ to now hearing the word ‘endemic,’ and people are thinking that it means that it has ended. No, the numbers show that it has not ended.”

She said the numbers now being seen reflect a rise two weeks after Easter.

“I do not know what will happen, we have to look at the trends. We have to look at what happens over the next week or two and we are still looking to see this new variant of omicron XE, what that will look like and whether it would be very, very bad or good.

“We are seeing that we’re not getting as sick, but we just have to wait and see…I am hoping that the next variant, if and whenever it comes, will be mild, but we simply do not know, and because we don’t know we have to keep being vigilant.”

She warned the population: “Don’t panic, but be responsible. Wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands.

“The vaccines are still here, the vaccines are still very available. The vaccines are saving lives – keep behaving responsive that is what we need to do.”

She said while it has been a very challenging two years, one should not resort to panic, though she admitted:

“When you see the numbers that come from Tobago in the report, it is over 90 new cases. We haven’t seen a report with a number like that in a very long time.”

It is a blessing, she said, that the last couple of variants. primarily omicron and the new variant of omicron, XE, have not been very, very deadly.

“That is why we’ve not been seeing the very high rates of deaths in particular. We’ve also not been seeing the high rates of official numbers.”But, she added, “I am continually warning us that the numbers we present are official numbers. The fact that we have 90 something today means that we have multiples of that running around.”

“Now because the strain, because the variant is not as deadly as delta was…means that there is quite a bit of people with it who just do not feel sick or just never got tested. or got tested privately and it was not reported.

“Let us not be too relaxed or be too carefree.”