Tobago public asked to help in contract tracing

The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development wants help identifying people who returned to Tobago within the last 14 days but were not properly screened for the novel coronavirus (covid19).

In making the appeal on Tuesday during a news conference at the Scarborough Library, Secretary of Health Tracy Davidson-Celestine urged members of the public, who may know of such people, to come forward with the information.

"I am asking the public that if you know of anyone who might have slipped through the cracks and are in your community at this point in time, please call (Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development) to assist us in identifying them."

She said such people may be "self-isolating at this point" but the division needs to have them on their database.

"If you know of any persons who may have also slipped through the cracks, please notify us so that they can be a part of our contact tracing system."

Davidson-Celestine added: "Contact tracing will monitor people who have a travel history but more importantly, persons who are in self-isolation at this point and who would have travelled within the last 14 days."

Contact tracing involves identifying the number of people who have come into contact with an infected person and gathering data of their whereabouts as well.

Davidson-Celestine said the covid19 task force, led by acting County Medical Officer of Health Dr Tiffany Hoyte, has been working with Caribbean Airlines to ensure they have all of the information of people who travelled to Tobago recently. Hoyte can be reached at 639-3751.

Tobago recorded its first confirmed case of covid19 on Monday evening. The patient, who recently arrived on the island via an international flight, was expected to be sent to Trinidad for treatment on Tuesday.

Davidson-Celestine revealed several initiatives have been implemented in response to the unfolding pandemic.

She said apart from the recruitment of nurses and doctors to fill the staff shortages within the Tobago Regional Health Authority, some existing staff will also be redeployed to facilitate the demand.

Apart from the screening of people arriving on the domestic bridge, she said an ambulance has also been retrofitted to transport confirmed cases.

"It will be retrofitted for that particular purpose only and after it has transported a patient, who is considered to be positive, it will undergo a sanitisation process after the person has been dropped off at the respective facilities."

Davidson-Celestine said TRHA staff, "based on different levels of exposure," are equipped with the necessary PPE's (Personal Protective Equipment).

She said the authorities have also started screening people arriving on the domestic airbridge.

Davidson-Celestine urged Tobagonians to be mindful of the restrictions in relation to mass gatherings.

"We are saying no more than ten. We are also asking to restrict those festivals that are a big part of our culture – harvest festivals, fisherman festivals. Some might still be gathering at bars – we don't know; dining at restaurants; weddings; church celebrations, we are asking to limit that as much as possible. Let us all practise social distancing and work as a community to limit the spread of covid."


"Tobago public asked to help in contract tracing"

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