Neighbours of covid19 patient: We need immediate testing

File photo: Dr Michelle Trotman 

File photo: Dr Michelle Trotman - JEFF K MAYERS

The grandson of a woman who assisted TT's second covid19 patient to get medical help is calling on health officials to get his family tested immediately.

The concerned 18-year-old from east Trinidad said his grandmother, who is 72 and a diabetic, was called over by the man's wife to assist in getting him ready as they waited for an ambulance to take him to hospital. The man, who is 66, was taken to the Couva Hospital.

The grandson said his family, seven of whom live in their home, was never notified that the man had been confirmed with covid19 and is concerned that they may have been exposed to the virus. His grandfather is also a heart patient.

So far, 63 people in TT have been tested for the virus with two confirmed cases. The elderly are the most susceptible to the virus.

According to the grandson, the ambulance technician took the neighbour to the hospital and was not seen wearing any protective gear such as a mask or gloves.

"The neighbour was not feeling well and his family called an ambulance. My grandmother went across to help."

The man had recently travelled from Grenada, which has not listed any known covid19 cases.

However, the young man was disappointed in the response his family has received after the confirmation. He said several calls to the Ministry of Health seeking assistance have gone unanswered.

"We called three numbers that the Health Ministry has posted up and nobody is answering. We want to get tested because we have been exposed."

Corporate communications manager at the Health Ministry Candice Alcantara, after being provided with a telephone number for the family, said ministry officials would contact them.

Contacted on Saturday, the son of the second confirmed covid19 patient referred all questions to the Health Ministry.

"He is not doing very well, but I will wait on the ministry to answer all questions."

During a news conference on Saturday, thoracic medical director at Caura Chest Hospital Dr Michelle Trotman said the 66-year-old patient remained in serious condition but was improving.

She also said the 52-year-old Swiss national, who returned to Trinidad from Switzerland last Monday, was recovering well at Caura Chest Hospital.

In his update, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said while there is no treatment or vaccine for covid19 and no one can say for sure when this current pandemic will end, Government remained ready to upgrade its response.

"We have set up Caura and Couva hospitals as covid19 response facilities. Caura will be the secondary response facility and Couva the tertiary response facility. There we have 22 ICU (intensive care unit) beds and over 230 normal beds. If the virus spreads, Government will use the Arima Hospital which will be opened next month," he said.

Deyalsingh said all public hospitals will now have a separate area to assess people with flu-like symptoms.

"The last to come on stream will be Port of Spain. From tomorrow Port of Spain, Eric Williams (Medical Sciences Complex), Sangre Grande and San Fernando hospitals will have separate triage systems and protocols to deal with covid19."

Deyalsingh said the safety of health care workers were most important and needed the public to partner with the ministry, advising them to ignore misinformation shared on social media.

"Social media is causing more damage than coronavirus at this time. Listen to authoritative sources of information."

On reports that the Caribbean Public Health Agency was limiting testing to 20 samples a week per member state, Deyalsingh said this was a guideline and Government get support from the Pan American Health Organisation.

CARPHA has handled testing for countries including Jamaica and Guyana where covid19 cases were linked to travel through Trinidad. In the Guyana case, a woman died, and on Saturday it was reported that her husband and two other people have tested positive for the virus.


"Neighbours of covid19 patient: We need immediate testing"

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