WITH a record of 399 new covid19 cases detected overnight, Trinidad and Tobago remains on a path on which its parallel health care system – set up to treat victims of the virus – will be overwhelmed within six days.
Daily case numbers have been on the rise over the past week.
On Friday, 326 new cases were recorded, followed by 248 on Saturday and 241 on Sunday. It then dropped to 158 on Monday before yet another increase as it jumped to 235 cases on Tuesday and now 399.
This brings the active case number up to 3,024, with a death toll of 189.
At the Health Ministry's virtual press conference on Wednesday, principal medical officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said High Dependency Unit (HDU) occupancy for covid19 patients had jumped from 40 to 70 per cent between Tuesday and Wednesday.
She said the parallel public health system was at 58 per cent occupancy, and urged the public to get its act together.
She said the trend of the increasing deaths is “very disturbing and very concerning.
“We are not just seeing deaths amongst the elderly population and persons with pre-existing conditions, but we are seeing deaths even among the age group of the 30s.
“This emphasises the need for the members of the population to really start adhering to the public health prevention methods.”
She said on Monday, hospital occupancy was at 48 per cent, which jumped to 50 per cent on Tuesday and is now at 58 per cent.
On Monday she had said that 14 out of every 100 covid19 patients need to be hospitalised.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, ward occupancy increased from 50 to 60 per cent.
The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) occupancy has decreased, moving from 50 to 40 per cent – not because patients have been discharged, but because they have died.
“Persons with mild illness are already being hospitalised for up to five days…and we are seeing that also persons presenting to the hospitals are even more ill and are requiring ICU and HDU care.”
She added, "We do not want to overwhelm our ambulance services. If your relative or you yourself require hospitalisation for a condition like a heart attack, we will not want the ambulance system to be overwhelmed by transporting covid19 patients."
She said the most dangerous words in the public healthcare system right now are "comingling and congregation."
"Young people, we are seeing deaths and sudden deaths from the 30s onward. Please don't think you are immune.
"This concept of a bubble I've been hearing touted around does not work...Different persons from different households carry different exposure risks. So by you saying that you would be liming or zessing or wessing, or whatever term you want to use, with the same group of persons while you're interacting with people at the supermarket or your workplace, it means you have a different level of exposure."
As of Wednesday morning, there were 542 covid19 hospital beds available.