THE Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development is considering establishing a quarantine support desk to address any concerns from the public.
Secretary of Health Tracy Davidson-Celestine made the announcement on Tuesday at a virtual news conference.
She said, “We want to ensure that we have community liaisons who can answer any query, who can answer any questions as it pertains to their state of quarantine.”
Addressing the backlog of tests, she said Tobago’s covid19 testing capacity will be increased.
“We have been working assiduously with our partners in Trinidad to treat with the backlog of tests. We are now also working from the perspective of the TRHA to increase, further, the capacity for testing on this island.”
In the interim, General Manager of Primary Care Dr Roxanne Mitchell said swabbing continues at all assigned facilities across the island.
“Swabbing is done at three facilities across primary care: the Scarborough Health Centre walk-in (clinic), Canaan Health Centre walk-in and the Roxborough Health Centre walk-in,” Mitchell said adding that as a result of reduced hours at the walk-in clinics, swabbing is only done from 8 am to 4 pm on Mondays to Fridays
“The reduction in the hours of service at the walk-in facilities was necessary to ensure that staff was available to conduct contact tracing activities in association with the office of the County Medical Officer of Health. This contact tracing began in August and we would update our service operation times accordingly,” Mitchell said.
She urged those in quarantine at home to be candid when contacted by the health authorities.
“Persons who are followed up by primary care services contact tracers can expect to be called on a daily basis, Monday to Friday, weekends included and also public holidays. They can also expect to be asked questions about their symptoms, in terms of if they have a fever, whether or not they have symptoms of cough, runny nose, abdominal pains, diarrhoea. We are also going to be asking questions with regards to how persons are coping with their confinement. Be as open as you can with the contact tracers and allow them to better assist you in the management of your case.”
Davidson-Celestine said the division continues to work assiduously to create several pathways to treat with covid19 patients on the island. She said medical practitioners have been deployed at the primary care level and at the community level to provide support to the public health team. This, she said is in an effort to provide a faster response time to treating with persons in quarantine and who are to be monitored.
In terms of the secondary care, she said, the division is working “hand in hand” to ensure that the systems are strengthened.
Mitchell said since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a shift in how primary care functions, noting that some changes would have included the introduction of the block appointment system.
“We’re asking for persons please to stick to their appointment times. We are still seeing persons gathering at the health centres hours before their clinic, we’re also asking that if you cannot make your appointment that you call ahead and ensure that you have a next appointment, we would accommodate as much as we can to give you the next available appointment to ensure continuity of service,” she said. Medical Chief of Staff Dr Victor Wheeler provided an update on secondary care services noting that some major elective surgeries have been restricted, while noting that minor elective, emergency and cancer-related surgeries continue as normal.
Wheeler also confirmed that specialist clinics continue but with some modifications to the times because of flight restrictions, while outpatient clinics continue as normal.