Tobago is to deal with mild covid19 cases differently from Trinidad, THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine has announced.
She was giving an update during the post-Executive Council media briefing on Thursday in Scarborough.
There are 19 active covid19 cases in Tobago, she said, and as of September 2, there were no new cases on the island.
After assessments, Davidson-Celestine said there would be some departure from the national policy in terms of how covid19 cases are dealt with. She said under the national policy, all covid19 cases who are displaying mild symptoms would quarantine or self-isolate at home.
This was because of bed-space challenges, she explained.
But in Tobago, "We have enough bed space both at our step-down facilities, our treatment facilities and those facilities that are basically identified for treating with positive and well patients."
As a result, she explained, “We have determined that Tobago will continue to provide care for our positive persons at our facilities of care, and that by the end of day 28, that is, when the restrictions would have been lifted, we would review the situation."
The current approach in Trinidad, she pointed out, is for people with mild symptoms to self-quarantine at home.
She said currently in Tobago, positive patients who are asymptomatic would stay at THA facilities, then at the "positive but well" facility for ten days and then be transferred to the step-down facility for seven days.
Listing the facilities available, she said: “At the Tobago rehabilitation centre we have seven beds; at the old hospital 40 beds; at the geriatric unit (which has since been outfitted to treat with covid-positive patients) as well we have 20 beds; we have our stepdown facility with 35; and then at ICU we have an addition of five beds – and that is of course for persons who are very critical.
"So, all in all, in total, we have about 105 beds available to us.”
Tobago's current statistics were: “To date, the number of samples submitted to be tested stands at 840, the number of samples testing positive for covid19 42, and we have 19 active cases on hand."
She said quite a few people had recovered and been discharged.
As a result: "At one of our facilities, the number of patients remaining is 11, the number of patients at the step-down facility stands at five, and the number of persons en route to the covid treatment facility stands at three."
There were 19 active cases.
"And may I remind you," she added, "that to date we have had only one death arising from covid19. The number of persons discharged to date – we have 22; and four persons were discharged of yesterday.”
Davidson-Celestine said her division is working with the Ministry of Health to improve testing capability and arrangements.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh spoke of plans to import 160,000 rapid test kits and some would be for use in Tobago, she said.
Recently, Davidson-Celestine pointed out challenges with the current PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine, which can only do two tests within 45 minutes to an hour.
To increase testing capacity, she said, “We have since received quotations for an eight-capacity machine as well as a 16-capacity chain machine.”
Additionally, there are three health centres on the island providing dedicated swabbing –the Roxborough Health Centre, the Scarborough Health Centre and the Canaan Health Centre – as well as the Green Room at the old hospital and the Accident and Emergency Department of the Scarborough General Hospital. These samples are then transferred to the lab at the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) and Scarborough General Hospital.