48 COVID-19 samples negative

| 26/03/2020 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee at Thursday’s press briefing

(CNS): Local officials are becoming increasingly hopeful that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, may still be contained here after another 48 samples taken from staff and patients at Health City Cayman Islands and the Health Services Authority all came back negative on Thursday. Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said these tests were all done at the local lab, and although there has been one false negative, he was confident that these were accurate.

Speaking at Thursday’s press briefing, Dr Lee said there was no requirement to confirm negative samples with CARPHA because every one in ten negative tests are sent for confirmation in any event as a matter of general quality control. Despite the one false negative so far from the estimated 160 tests taken, he said he had every “confidence in the results coming out of our lab”.

Test kit shortages remain a real problem, as Dr Lee revealed that Cayman now has only around 100 kits left to test for this virus. Every effort is being made to find the reagents needed to enable testing, which are now in short supply around the world, but it could be as long as three weeks before the HSA receives its order.

The CTMH Doctors Hospital is also expected to begin testing shortly as they have also ordered kits, which are en route and expected to arrive shortly. Dr Lee said that if Cayman can get access to more testing kits, the health authorities would change how people are treated when in isolation, helping to ease the restrictions.

Commenting on the fact that around 40 healthcare workers were forced into isolation as a result of the few positive cases here so far, Dr Lee said that while this was a concern, it was not necessarily a cause for serious alarm and a sign of potential staff shortages if there were a lot more cases. He said Cayman has significant capacity in healthcare, given the additional private sector resources.

After quoting Michael Jackson song lyrics, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour revealed that there are 40 ventilators in the Cayman Islands, with more on the way. Nevertheless, like other countries, Cayman is struggling to source protective equipment for staff, and while the UK has committed to assist its territories with resources, getting the materials here is still an issue.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee said he had no further news on the reportedly positive COVID-19 case in Honduras. A Cayman Islands resident recently returned home to that country, where the person is believed to have tested positive for the coronavirus but sadly died shortly afterwards. Dr Lee said the HSA continues to follow up on the case but they have not yet had a response from the Honduran authorities.

As the local health authorities do what they can with limited resources and a dwindling supply of test kits, the government continues to take the position that without abundant testing, the only way to curtail the pandemic is to stop the movement and interaction of people.

This means that Cayman will be transitioning to a ‘shelter in place’ provision on Saturday after 5am, when the current full curfew will be lifted. The nightly curfew will then begin each evening at 7pm.

The premier revealed Thursday that a set of regulations has now been outlined that will govern this transition period, which will last until Friday, 3 April, when the spread of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands will be reviewed.

The full details of the ‘shelter in place’ provisions will be outlined at Friday’s regular COVID-19 press briefing.

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (11)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I take zero comfort from this announcement, given the cock up with the false negative result.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Quoting a Michael Jackson song and quoting religious nonsense does not inspire any confidence in a Health Minister. We need facts, advice, reassurance and most of all, leadership.
    From this hopeless briefing, I didn’t spot anyone who really has a handle on this situation with the possible exception of Dr Lee, who is really up against it here in the Cayman Islands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Seems like CIG is doing all it can but it should be aware of the possibility of sourcing poor-quality test kits. One US city received a batch from China which couldn’t be used. Admittedly, quality control will be lower now as production of kits is rushed.

    I’m sure, though, that Dr. Lee will be on top of this, he seems like a most capable professional.

    God bless us.

  4. Anonymous says:

    PPE shortages in the US

    “It’s like panic shopping on the part of government,” … “They’ve gone out to every vendor on the planet and every manufacturer to try to get the stockpile built up. But right now every state in the union and many countries are going to the same limited number of vendors. So it’s a real problem.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Estimated 160 tests taken so far. How difficult is it to know exactly how many tests have been taken? 1) # of tests taken 2) # of Positives 3) # of Negatives. If not kept simple and accurate, the uncertainty and confusion will lead to unnecessary stress!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Poor John-John. Karaoke? Yes. Politics? Not so much.

    • Anonymous says:

      John John is a welcome change. At least he turned away the first Corona Ship. Cant say that much for some other members hiding behind the human shields.

      I recall our cruise ship partners were picking up some test kits and dropping off some ill passengers a little while ago. Seems they have good links at getting test kits for their passengers. Maybe Moses can reach out and call them back to get some test kits?

      Hey Alden, why don’t you get creative and stop hiding behind worthless public health England. Check the global media England isn’t really testing so how would they have access to test kits. CTMH gonna beat public health England everytime.

      • Anonymous says:

        The first corona ship? You mean the one with patient zero – who disembarked 2100 people? Of the one a few days later that they did turn away – but turned out not to have any corona virus sufferers on board?

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