PAHO backs ramped-up covid19 testing in TT

Dr Carissa Etienne -
Dr Carissa Etienne -

Carissa F Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), told a virtual press conference on Tuesday that TT has reported a 25 per cent increase in covid19 cases in the past month.

Etienne, in the usual PAHO informative summary, highlighted that in the first months of the pandemic the Caribbean countries had effective control, but in the last two months with economies reopening, there has been a considerable increase in cases.

From July 1 to today the cases rose from five million to 12 million infected in the countries of the Americas.

"The Bahamas reported an increase of 60 per cent, while the government of Trinidad and Tobago said that the increase has been 25 per cent," she said.

Etienne acknowledged border closure measures but said several countries have allowed the return of their citizens and this could increase the risk of the spread of covid19.

She gave Chile and Costa Rica as examples of countries which implemented new confinement measures according to data analysed from contact traces, and the numbers have dropped considerably in the last six weeks.

She recommended that governments have good contact tracing and a health system prepared to attend to new cases and, from there, evaluate the reopening of their countries.

Given this, Sylvain Aldighieri, incident manager, PAHO, said the current increase in cases in TT is similar to that experienced by the rest of the Americas.

"It is important to monitor everything; contact tracing, the number of beds in hospitals, intensive care units are key to determine the measures to follow, as well as the management and follow-up of patients in alternative facilities in order to relieve the health centres,” said Aldighieri.

The officials noted the expansion of covid19 testing laboratories in TT and said it is a step forward to quickly discover cases and achieve a better follow-up and control work.

Etienne said she is concerned about the disproportionate incidence of covid19 in people between 20 and 59.

"They are determining the spread of the virus. Perhaps they do not need beds or special treatments, but perhaps those who infect are putting others in danger," she stressed.

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