Medical chief of staff at the Roxborough Hospital Dr Nathaniel Duke believes a surge in omicron-positive patients in Tobago is likely, given the presence of the covid19 variant on the island.
On Wednesday, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection reported two additional cases of omicron, increasing Tobago’s total to three.
It said confirmation of the second and third omicron cases was received on January and 18 and 19, via gene sequencing at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Laboratory, UWI. The division said details of the third case will be shared in a subsequent release.
At the post-executive council news conference on Wednesday, Duke described omicron as a hybrid virus.
“It has the ability of two arms of covid19, the rapidity of spread and the infectivity. It has also less mutation than delta (the delta variant), but it is unique in what it can do,” he told reporters.
“So this variant (omicron) which is now circulating in the Tobago space – they have recorded three – so epidemiologically, we can multiply that by 100 and that will be the number of omicron-positive patients circulating in our society.
“Therefore, a surge is probably about to come. So we have to be prepared for the surge that is probably at our doorsteps. It is better that we be prepared now than we wait until it knocks on our door.”
Duke said the surge could possibly affect 30-40 per cent of the working population as well as a sizeable percentage of the paediatric population.
“Could you imagine a situation where 1,000 paediatric patients show up at your health care institution asking for care?
That might be a reality. But we do not want that to happen.”