County Medical Officer of Health for Tobago Dr Tiffany Hoyte says there has been a steady increase in the number of paediatric covid19 cases on the island.
At the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development’s virtual media briefing on Thursday, Hoyte presented a bar chart which showed the number of paediatric infections in several age groups from January-August.
“As the bar chart shows, we definitely have been seeing a steady increase in the number of cases we have in our paediatric population,” she said.
Noting that no cases were detected in January, she said one case was reported in February in the 0-five age group. One case was also reported in the same age group in March.
Hoyte said in April the numbers started to increase, with four cases reported in the 0-5 age group, three aged six-ten, three in the 11-15 and three in the 16-20 age group.
“For each of these paediatric age groups, we have had a steady increase where in August, we recorded a total of 27 persons within the 0-five age group, 31 persons in the six-ten age group, 47 in the 11-15 age group and 45 in the 16-20.
"So we are definitely seeing a clear increase in the number of children that are being affected with covid19.”
Hoyte attributed the trend to an overall increase in the number of community cases.
“We have community spread ongoing and we know that with the gamma variant circulating, being way more infectious, where before we might have found that if there is a positive person in a household there might just be one or two others, we find that whenever there is a household with a positive case, most of the other members, when we test them as primary contacts, also turn out to be positive.
“So a lot of the time the kids would have been home but we are having cases where families are being affected so through that spread of persons who are working, or adults who are in the home who test positive, when we screen the family, we get the kids also testing positive.”
In July, Tobago confirmed its fist case of the gamma variant, also known as the Brazilian or P1 variant. It is said to be more contagious than previous strains of covid19.
Trinidad reported its first case community case of the gamma variant, a Venezuelan migrant, on April 16.
Meanwhile, Tobago has recorded 30 new covid19 cases, bringing to 435 the number of active cases on the island. Tobago’s covid19 death toll stands at 72.
In a statement on Thursday, the division reported there are 389 patients in home isolation, 41 in state isolation and five in ICU. Twenty-nine people have been discharged.
It said of the 13,543 people who have been tested for the virus, 2,402 tested positive.
To date, 19,307 people in Tobago have been partially vaccinated and 14, 799 are fully vaccinated.