HSA patient COVID-19 positive, lockdown coming

| 24/03/2020 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town

(CNS): A Health Services Authority patient has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a preliminary sample tested at the local lab. The patient had no travel history and was not symptomatic but was tested because he may have needed unrelated emergency treatment in the United States, but without a negative test result he would not be able to go. Because of this positive result, 14 healthcare workers and eight members of the patient’s family are now being tested and placed in isolation.

Although Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee and others are reluctant to say this is a definite positive, as all positive tests taken locally are being checked by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), if it is confirmed as positive this is a community transmission with an unknown source.

The news was revealed at an extra morning press briefing Tuesday, when Premier Alden McLaughlin warned that a complete lockdown was imminent.

This patient’s local positive test, coupled with reports from Honduras that a Cayman resident who recently arrived there died after he tested positive for COVID-19, suggests that Cayman is now facing real community transmission.

But according to Dr Lee, the public health authorities have very few tests and there is little sign of getting more. They are therefore sticking with CARPHA guidelines on testing, even though many believe are no longer relevant. This also means that the true local infection rate here remains a complete mystery, making management of this pandemic very challenging.

Nevertheless, since the first positive test on 13 March, Premier Alden McLaughlin has taken a pragmatic approach and acted as though Cayman was likely exposed beyond ‘patient zero’, who died at Health City. He has continuously urged the community to behave as though the virus is already here and has incrementally increased the limitations on public interaction.

Because of this latest result and the possibility that several people could have been exposed, along with the limited testing that is disguising how many others may also have the virus, McLaughlin has expanded the curfew by an hour, so it now starts at 7pm, and is moving towards a complete lockdown.

The full details of the ‘stay at home measure’, with the exception of essential workers, are expected to be ironed out later today, but it will see the closure of all non-essential businesses and the removal of most people from the streets for at least the next two weeks.

McLaughlin said we are now beyond the containment phase and have moved towards the suppression of the spread and an almost complete lockdown, where people will be required to stay home. The full details of how the latest restrictions on movement are expected to be outlined in a second press briefing for Tuesday, which will take place this afternoon.

See Tuesday morning press briefing below:


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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (61)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Although many of his supporters are uneducated, bigoted morons (what Hilary Clinton called “the deplorables” for good reason) another key segment of his support comes from people who are educated enough to know better but are more concerned with their bank balance than human decency. These people, many in the upper middle class, include professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants and financial services providers. Like the Fox News presenters, they are willing to sell their souls for money. To me, these people are more deplorable than Trump’s other supporters, who aren’t educated enough or smart enough to practise critical thinking. And this island is crawling with those types of people.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, having been inside many of Cayman’s restaurant kitchens, and seen the chefs and line cooks wipe sweat off their brows, and handle all manner of food prep and plating with their bare hands, I don’t understand the assumption that restaurant delivery kitchens are going to somehow be immune to the spread COVID-19 as this goes forward. Ordering out just sounds like lazy food prep roulette to me…

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what I was thinking as well. I do feel sorry for those who can’t cook – and there are lots of people who can’t – but how hard is it to make a sandwich, microwave a frozen dinner or heat up a can of soup? I do understand that food delivery is also a way for restaurants to remain open, though, and for people to earn some money during these times. I certainly hope that safeguards (handling and preparing food while wearing gloves/masks) are being required by government as a condition of staying open.

  3. Bruce says:

    How do we all feel now about the transparency and truthfulness of the cruise lines now. Thank god we are not saddled with a 300 million dollar cruise pier. The cruise industry will be punished mightily for their lack of concern for their customers and the ports that they take advantage of. Who will ever want to get on a cruise ship again.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the US bail out the cruse lines My thin respect might crumble. Who is going to bail my a&@ out and I don’t F people over every day.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks CNS, Govt official misspeaking at times like this cause confusion or worse. We don’t need to be like Moron Trump!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Most recent poll shows 60% of Americans support the way Trump is handling the virus crisis. Go back to watching CNN. And no it wasn’t a Fox poll.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know, when I listen to Trump I hear the most straight forward US president in my life time notwithstanding his awkward and unorthodox style. He doesn’t come off as a pandering politician that says one thing and does another. He pretty much does what he says he’s going to do whether you like it or not you know where he’s headed. He obviously doesn’t care one lick about upsetting the politically correct thought police.

      Refreshing if you ask me.

      CNS: Trump’s coronavirus Calendar of Shame

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      • Anonymous says:

        Trump is a blithering idiot. If he sounds smart to you, you must be even more idiotic…

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      • Anonymous says:

        You need help

      • Anonymous says:

        Oops I triggered CNS. Occupy democrats link..I’m shocked..

        CNS: OK, now comment on the content.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I wish common sense would occupy your brain. Trump is straight forward???? The guy can’t utter three consecutive sentences without lying! Good God man! If you’re not a troll, you’re so severely misguided that you you should seek a lobotomy immediately!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Sure, XXX

          CNS: Deleted rant because you still won’t comment on the content. Trump called this a Democratic hoax on February 28th at a rally (see the video) while his medical and intelligence experts were telling him a pandemic was on its way. The link I sent just dated all the times he did that. You can put it in context all you like but it wouldn’t make any difference to the stupidity of it. The US now has the fastest growing rate of infection in the world.

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        • Anonymous says:

          LOL Yep!! You did. CNN even complaining that he hopes this calms down by Easter. Guess it is bad to have hope!!!! Strawman… Look up the definition

          CNS: We all have hope. However, when a leader of a country spouts unrealistic BS, which, if it causes people to drop their guard, could increase the spread of the virus and the death rate of his own people, it is fantastically irresponsible, much like holding a rally when you know there’s a pandemic on the way. Utterly stupid and selfish. According to all Trump’s own experts, there’s not the smallest chance in hell that everything will be fine by Easter in the US.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it will be like UK lockdown:
    Leaving home
    People are instructed to limit going out for these reasons:

    Shopping for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible”
    To take one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess the cause of death indicated on his certificate was a forgery too?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is there a website or some way of finding out when the next press briefing is going to be held???? With changes coming fast that impact both the public and businesses, it would be helpful to have an idea of when to listen for these!

    CNS: Check the CIG Facebook or YouTube page. It’s starting soon.

  8. Aj says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this will only help to the smallest degree? People are more likely to contract the virus during business hours. You know, 9-5…am to pm. The majority of people are at home during the curfew hours nonetheless. If all non-essential businesses are to be closed, then essential workers should be the only ones out at that time. Non-essential workers such as myself, should be made to stay indoors unless it’s to purchase groceries or of course emergencies. Which, if I’m not mistaken is happening in other countries right now. Now, I know our cases aren’t as severe in terms of infection numbers, but we are playing with fire. This is a very small island with a lot of people. The last thing we need is a community outbreak, so I think we should be more harsh on the curfew hours to further decrease the chances of a spread. Call it going overboard or overreacting but I think doing a little extra during a global pandemic is warranted. Given that there’s a shortage on tests, hygienic products and masks, I say impose stronger restrictions until we have enough tests to adequately test the population. Again, I may be overreacting but if we are to be “ahead of the curve” there shouldn’t be a gradual increase in restrictions, lockdown now to save us in the future.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Saying you are moving to a complete lockdown imminently without giving any indication on how people will access food or saying how much notice there will be to allow people to stick up is not Aldens brightest idea, and there is no shortage of bad ideas to compete with. May as well shout fire in a theatre.

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  10. susan says:

    the gentleman from Honduras was not positive for covid19 .

    check the Honduran news and you will see that is not true he didnmt die from the virus it was suspected so they ran test on him and it came back negative

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Of course bus loads of infected were circulating in our community for weeks longer than they should have. March break vacationers were allowed to squeeze in a week of holidays too. Alden is also well-placed to recall his Cabinet pleading with Carnival to disembark all their passengers from MS Costa Luminosa in Grand Cayman on Feb 29 at Spotts, contrary to what HMCI subsequently reported. Moses was even showboating about the Cabinet’s negotiating prowess at the time.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    CNS, at this morning’s briefing Health Minister Dwayne Seymour made reference that the virus could be “airborne”. No media rep present queried this further. Can you please get some clarification as to the source of Minister Seymour’s info on that subject, and indeed, more clarity if that possibility is being evaluated. There is no such reference on any international media outlets but surely an “airborne” possibility changes the scope of the spread of the virus to a more detrimental effect.

    Please seek and publish some clarification. Thanks.

    CNS: Perhaps the minister misspoke. We’re keeping en eye on developments published by WHO, CDC, etc, and while everyone admits that there is still much that is unknown about COVID-19, at the moment it appears to be spread by water droplets in the air and surface contact. Here is what is on the WHO site currently.

    • Anonymous says:

      His brain is airborne.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where have you been for the last month? Every news channel has concisely outlined how this virus is spread, as have all responsible countries and WHO. Educate yourself and listen to those educated people who really know what they’re talking about. Not an uneducated MLA from god knows where.
      He, as a representative and minister of health does not get to make misspoken announcements of such importance. No more passes, these guys need to step up and get it right first time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are internet theories that toilet flushes could aerosol the virus, as it is concentrated in stool. Just another reason to avoid public toilets and/or obey ban by staying home.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Poor man. Doing his best but out of his league. I miss Wayne.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s painful watching Minister Seymour’s contributions to each press conference, both prepared and responding to questions.

      The amount of “misspeaking” and similar should lead the Premier to direct him to not answer anything that’s not on his FAQs list, and to not deviate from his prepared statement.

      Did you all catch when he jumped in to say the Health Insurance Commission under his Ministry would look into it when the issue of AUTO INSURANCE not covering use of personal vehicles for business delivery was raised? SMH

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  13. Say it like it is says:

    The supermarkets will have nothing left by tonight so what happens then, when we are all “locked down”. I’m sure those in power will all have their “arranged” sources of supply but what about the rest of us?. These “hints” from the Premier cause nothing but panic which is the last thing we need, are the poor going to starve even if they have a little money to spend?.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ask all who attended Jamaica agricultural show last year about agricultural sector development in the Cayman Islands. They were dined and wined nicely.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Are there any plans in place for the essential workers if they contract this virus? Are there any policies in place to deal with them?

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    • Anonymous says:

      None. They would return to their families to spread the virus. Eventually essential services would cease to exist.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Really …well sure wish I had stockpiled now.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    what time is the next briefing?

  17. Anonymous says:

    There must now be a likelihood that the virus is in the community. Hopefully, government measures are not too late to prevent the spread and we will come out of this unscathed. Overall, I think the decision is sensible.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I have been with the Honourable Premier so far, but I think this latest move is a bit draconian, constitutes a knee jerk reaction, and requires more thought. My few points for what it is worth.

    1. Today’s announcement essentially justifies the panic buying that the Government said all along was not necessary, sheltering in place for 10 days requires supplies, and I am now sorry I did not stock up;
    2. This Friday is payday for many workers (the last Friday of the month) are the people that are required to process payroll, and pay other businesses depending on funds going to be considered “essential workers”?
    3. How do the Government think people are going to react on this short notice of an imminent lock down? Look outside, everyone is flocking to the grocery store and the bank, and I can show you a picture proving they are not social distancing.
    4. We do not have the US machinery and the ability to provide $2 trillion in aid and economic stimulus, so what about the self employed who do not have vacation, sick or other leave. For some of us, if we don’t work, we don’t get paid, what will happen to our ability to provide food for our families?
    5. There will no doubt be a run on the banks today, have they been forewarned and prepared to deal with this? Is there enough money supply when the inevitable withdrawals starts?

    As Trump said, we have to be careful that the cure do not turn out to be worse than the disease we are seeking to treat. Civil Servants and elected officials are safe, but they only account for 10% of the population. They already got paid this month and their salaries are guaranteed for next month (probably early again too), but what shall become of the rest of us who do not have those circumstances?

    Premier, I urge you to reconsider the 10 day shutdown, or at least the timing of it. Give people a few days to prepare, workers to get paid on Friday and to reduce the panic and crowd congregation now at banks and supermarkets. You are creating more problems than you are solving.

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    • Anonymous says:

      For the public sector it is a paid vacation, for small businesses, this is a death blow, they can never understand!

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    • Anon says:

      12.35pm I could not agree more, Govt needs to more closely examine the consequences of their decisions. They also need to advise the public of the time of their news briefings, today was a farce waiting until well after 3.00pm to announce the 4.00pm start time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      500 people died in Spain yesterday, what part of this crisis don’t you get?
      When it breaks out in the community and it will, I hope to God that your moronic mindset saves you.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Agree 100%…how can some people be so ignorant? Don’t they read and listen to what is happening the world over? So sick of reading moronic comments.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10 days is hardly a long and many people are carrying enough fat to cut at least one meal a day (me included). Give this a chance, yes it is inconvenient, it causes hardship, but stay home and learn to enjoy family again or enjoy some ‘me’ time. Ten days could make the difference to a lot of lives to be saved especially the elderly.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Delay could mean the difference between hardship and the alternative of serious hardship coupled with a collapsed medical system and a large number of deaths.

  19. Anonymous says:

    What is the status of the Honduras related death and the student hospitalized?

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