Dr Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said on Wednesday Trinidad and Tobago is experiencing its highest incidence rate since the covid19 pandemic began.
Etienne said during the weekly PAHO webinar: "At least five hospitals in TT are at 80 per cent capacity."
In the last week, throughout the Americas there was a 23 per cent jump in new cases of covid19, with 880,500 reports and more than 15,000 deaths.
Most of the cases were recorded in the United States, Canada and most of the countries of South America, while Central America had a 37 per cent decrease in new infections.
Etienne said: "These trends are quite revealing. Even as covid19 cases have decreased in recent months, transmission is still active throughout our region. Every time we let our guard down, the virus gains momentum."
She also said the increase in new cases in Europe is a warning for the Americas, as they are even more vulnerable.
PAHO reported Wednesday at least 51 per cent of the people in the Americas have been fully vaccinated, but 19 countries have yet to reach the goal of 40 per cent of the population by the end of 2021.
"Although vaccination is still not enough, many countries have relaxed their health measures and this worries PAHO, even more so with the arrival of Christmas and the summer holidays in the southern hemisphere."
Etienne said that the WHO has authorised eight safe and effective vaccines against the virus, administering more than 1,200 million doses, and this has contributed to reduce the occupation of hospital beds, but vaccines are not the only measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
"We must continue with the use of masks and social distancing.
"The decisions we make in the next few months will mark the next year," Etienne said. She asked countries to keep up their health measures in the lead-up to Christmas and the New Year.