AN east Trinidad family of seven is now under home quarantine after helping TT’s most serious victim of covid19 without knowing his status, Newsday learnt on Sunday.
“Stay put in your house,” the family has been ordered amid uncertainty as to their status after two family members helped TT’s covid19 patient (“patient 2”) get ready for hospital, where he now remains in critical condition. The man, 66, recently back from Grenada, is hospitalised at Couva Hospital.
Meanwhile TT’s first covid19 patient (“patient 1”), a 52 year-old man who recently returned from Switzerland, is warded at Caura Hospital.)
Sunday Newsday had reported the neighbours of patient 2, a grandmother, 72, and grandson, 18, had helped their sick neighbour to get ready for an ambulance to go to hospital, but unaware of the virus which could spread to them.
The grandson told Newsday he had called the covid19 hotline for south Trinidad, which had given him covid19 hotline numbers for north Trinidad.
“But no-one is answering the north hotline,” he lamented. Sunday Newsday meanwhile told ministry PRO Candace Alcantara who promised to notify ministry officials. The grandson said the ministry had contacted them on Sunday morning.
“The Ministry of Health did contact my grandmother. They said the only way she would be tested for the coronavirus is if she has symptoms.
“They gave us a special number to call, if she starts to show the symptoms.
“Meanwhile they told us to stay home and quarantine ourselves.” While the officials had not told them the symptoms, he said the family already knew them.
Asked about the condition of his grandmother, 72, who is diabetic, he said she is okay and not showing any signs of covid19.
Was he happy with how the ministry had acted in his family’s case?
“No,” he replied. He reckoned that in many other countries, you would be tested once you’ve been near the virus, but this was not happening in TT.
“If they delay testing, it will be too late and then everyone around you will test positive, in a worst case scenario.”
Otherwise the son of “patient 2”said Newsday should seek details on his father only from the ministry.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram gave Newsday an update on both covid19 patients and spelt out how the ministry decides if to test other people.
Of patient 2, he said, “There’s no real change between Saturday and Sunday in terms of the patient. The patient who went to Couva is the more critical. He is still in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) care. The other patient (patient 1) is doing much better. He was never really in a serious condition at any stage. That’s the first case we had, at Caura.
“We sent a test to Carpha (Caribbean Public Health Authority) to actually see if he has become negative. That’s the test we normally do to see if he is ready for discharge home. So he’s doing very well.” Newsday asked about patient 2’s neighbours, desirous of testing.
“”I would have sent the (phone) numbers to the County Officer of Health who would have been able to reach out to them.
“But we don’t test if they have no symptoms. If they have symptoms we will test. What we will do is quarantine the entire family, let them stay at home, and we will monitor them daily for showing symptoms.
If they do, then we will test them at that stage.
“We normally only test between the onset of symptoms and five days later, as that is when the test can actually give you a positive result. That’s the guideline we have been given by Carpha.”
He said patient 2’s neighbours are now supposed to be in quarantine at home.
“That’s the instruction I have given my County Medical Officer of Health.
“Not only that family. We would have traced everyone who would have had significant contact with the person that was ill and all of those households and all those persons have been quarantined as well.”