THE EDITOR: Recently, workers at the Tobago airport contacted the covid19 virus and unfortunately two people died. However, the rest of the staff were immediately tested and contact tracing was carried out.
Congrats to the Tobago Division of Health for spearheading and completing this mission. Makes sense, right?
In Trinidad, however, staff at supermarkets, banks, finance companies have fallen ill, some have died, and not a word about testing all the other staff. In fact, there was a cover of secrecy and denial. No word about contact tracing, no plan.
It is also the case that when a test takes about two weeks to be determined, positive people are moving around infecting others. There is no real mystery about why we have large numbers of cases.
It seems that we now have some hope with vaccines coming. However, this will happen over the course of months. At our current average rate of 12 deaths per day, about 720 more of us will be gone by August.
There will unfortunately be cases of covid19 around for at least a year, according to most scientists, especially as there will be some citizens not accepting the protection of the vaccine. We therefore must plan for the virus to be a part of our lives and how to live with it.
There are things we citizens can do, without waiting on the Government.
In every company with a positive case, all other staff members should take the covid19 test. The HR department should take the lead. A small company can assign anyone to this mission. Every staff member, yes, even the tea lady and janitor and CEO, should fill out a contact-tracing form. I suggest this be done quickly so as to protect memories, which fade with time. This may be managed by Ministry of Health personnel to complete contact tracing in the event more positives are found.
The premises must be sanitised. That includes the air conditioning units/centralised system. The staff must be sent home for two days. Yes, this is necessary. Please balance that cost against the possibility of more lockdowns and closed businesses with loss of income.
After the two days, everyone who returns will need to wear masks in the building. Until everyone in the office – or at least 75 per cent of them – is vaccinated, masks and distancing will be necessary.
In the long term, it may be necessary to continue sanitising procedures daily. I haven’t seen any guidelines by the OSH Authority for businesses to implement, so the business sector needs to step up.
So, private sector, how about it? Should we make a plan? Or will you go to Tobago to ride out the pandemic?
ANNE DE SILVA
THA Secretary for Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine.