THE explosion of covid19 cases in Tobago – active cases reaching 200 on Friday – might have resulted in the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development adjusting its policy on admitting covid19 patients.
Secretary of Health Tracy Davidson-Celestine said on Friday, covid19-positive patients who are asymptomatic will now self-quarantine at home.
“We have revisited the policy to only host those at our facilities of care who are easily considered to be persons at risk at this time. Those with comorbidities, those who are over the age of 60, those who are not feeling well and those who might not have the required facilities to isolate effectively,” Davidson-Celestine said at a press conference.
Additionally, she said the public health team will provide day-to-day monitoring of covid19 patients in self-quarantine at home. She said thes epatients will be equipped with oximetres to keep track of their blood oxygen levels.
The secretary also provided an update on the occupancy rates at the facilities of care.
“At the Green Room (old hospital, Fort King George
) we have a 78 per cent occupancy at this time. At TREC (Tobago Rehabilitation and Empowerment Centre), which is one of the facilities which hosts those who are moderately ill, we have no one there at present. At our covid ICU we have a 60 per cent occupancy. At our infectious disease ward we have a 45 per cent occupancy, and at our step-down facility we have a 29 per cent occupancy at this time.”
She said the rollout of antigen rapid testing is just one week away, as the final phase of the testing takes place.
“With the antigen testing right around the corner, it will help us to add more capacity to the current testing arrangements that we have. With the antigen testing, this would help us to increase the reporting time on results.
"As our numbers climb, we are facing different resource challenges and the antigen testing will help us in receiving results in a timely manner.”
She also reiterated her call for the public to stay at home and isolate as much possible.
“We have to continue the process of isolation and most importantly, where we have to continue the process of vaccination."
Davidson-Celestine said she was notified last week about an entire family that was covid19-positive.
"It's not the kind of news that we would want to hear as members of the public or even as the persons in the division who have been treating with covid19. The family was infected and that is as a result of one family member going to visit a relative – a cousin.
"The message that I want to impart, the message that I want to share with you is that if you do not take this virus seriously, then it would eventually become about your life and even death. Hence the reason why we have been saying since the start of this pandemic that you must, and we all must isolate and then eventually vaccinate when we are able to vaccinate all in a mass way.”
She also extended a call to all individuals, organisations and even leaders in the communities to register for the vaccine.
“Those of you who have not yet signed on to our registration process, start registering for the vaccines. We encourage you to encourage those under your guidance, to encourage those under your influence, to do the same since, and we’ve said it on several occasions, that this is our only way to treating with the spread of the virus, to managing the virus on the island.”
She said the division continues to say the “mixing of households is in fact a no-no, and so we cannot continue to take chances with our lives.”