Brac records first COVID-19 case

| 04/04/2020 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee at Saturday’s press briefing

(CNS): The first positive COVID-19 case has been confirmed on Cayman Brac in a patient who had contact with a person with a travel history. This was one of six positive cases reported by Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee on Saturday, one of whom had no connection with anyone who previously tested positive or a travel history. Dr Lee said he was concerned about the patterns of transmission now from interconnected positive cases.

In total 46 results were revealed at Saturday’s COVID-19 update. Twenty-seven of them were from the students at the government facility, all of which were negative, and the rest came from the community, including 13 negative samples. Four of the positive cases today all had travel histories, Dr Lee said.

This means that public health officials have now tested 319 people in Cayman and 35 were positive.

The CMO said he had no updates on the health status of anyone testing positive, but there had been no more hospital admissions of people with serious symptoms related to the coronavirus. Currently, there is just one patient in hospital with respiratory symptoms who has COVID-19.

Dr Lee said that the person on Cayman Brac who is positive for the virus was tested because they had symptoms, but did not indicate that those symptoms were serious.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said that this result was of grave concern. He has previously said that trying to prevent the virus from reaching the Brac had been an important objective, given the number of elderly people living there.

McLaughlin said the situation in Cayman grows more worrying every day as we are now into community transmission. This underscores the point he has frequently made about the absolute necessity for physical distancing, staying away from each other and frequent hand washing.

He said that these were the best prevention measures. While he still believes that the social distancing measures in place could prevent widespread transmission around the community, the situation in Cayman Brac was “hugely worrying”, McLaughlin said, noting the island’s demographics.

“If this virus gets loose in Cayman Brac, I am afraid there are going to be many, many funerals,” he said, as as he urged people to cooperate with the restrictions put in place and do everything possible to stop the virus from truly taking hold.

McLaughlin warned that the future was going to be grim and pointed out that with every positive case, “we restart the clock” when it comes to the longer term goal of gradually opening up the community and the economy.

A key factor in the medium-term goal of lifting some restrictions is testing. And while the governor has been very upbeat about securing some 200,000 test kits from South Korea, Dr Lee was a little more pessimistic about when Cayman will get the kits and other equipment it really needs to manage this pandemic, or at the very least begin testing healthcare workers and essential employees on the front line of exposure.

Dr Lee said that while 1,700 reagents kits were expected on the British Airways flight next Tuesday, Cayman’s stocks of swabs are now very low, among other essential equipment. He said he was waiting on supplies, but every time the HSA succeeds in securing some essential supplies, they begin to run low on others. He said there are a number of orders out there but no certainties about when things appear.

Clearly wanting to test those who have a lot of contact with the public, he said that could not begin to happen until there were more test kits here. He said they were sourcing swabs and other parts of the test kits from various places, but given the challenges in securing orders for every country, things remained vague. He said it was difficult to say when the supplies we need would arrive and when any kind of effective testing programme could begin.

The governor, however, said he had been able to confirm that around 1,000 swabs would be on the BA flight. He said this would help with testing and emphasized the plans to ramp up testing as soon as possible.

If Cayman can begin testing to any significant degree, it would enable some easing of the restrictions and better management of the spread of the virus.

But the premier also made it clear that, even if Cayman was to contain the community spread, the virus is raging all around us and things were going to be tough for the rest of the year, especially for those in the hospitality industry.

He said that while the Cayman Islands was going to keep its borders closed, the government was going to do what it could to help those who want to leave wherever possible, and they should begin planning to depart.

The premier said that officials were now keeping track of the numbers of people and where they wanted to go through the travel hotline. He said government was planning to use Cayman Airways to take people to Miami and other regional destinations, but the first thing to do was get the number of people wanting to go. However, he warned that this could be more difficult for those wanting to travel to India, the Philippines or other destinations beyond this region.

The governor indicated that it may be possible to use another UK flight from here that would enable people to get to London, and then on from there to their own home countries.

See the full press briefing on CIGTV:

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Time to watch the Wizard of Oz again, folks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    UK Govt’s COVID-19 press briefings do not invoke religion. So why is it different in Cayman?

  3. Anonymous says:

    We should be mobilizing. Organizing teams to support the elderly, the sick and the high risk. We should be preparing teams to target, track and isolate community spread cases. When the tests arrive we should be ready to roll and get what’s left of our economy going full steam so we can maintain our resources, strength and ability to fight back.

    Once we get the tools we should not be hiding in our homes cowering in fear. We need to face reality and attack it head on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s actually a cardboard cutout. Alden’s GAYpril fool joke.
    Fixed that for you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Agree on at least the madcow thing. I lived in Europe during that time, want to donate some much needed blood now, but am told NO because of the madcow disease over 30 years ago – go figure (I was very honest I answering blood donor questionnaire).

    • Anonymous says:

      The 50yr CJD/BSE incubation period in humans is a risk that can either be acknowledged, or ignored, and I don’t fault the HSA for screening local donors this way to try to keep our blood supply as clean as possible. That said, the USA-side screening for our imported blood donor parts is still the weakest qualitative link in the diligence chain, and the FDA has loosened US-side blood donation restrictions even further, just in the last couple days, amidst this epidemic.

    • Anonymous says:

      To increase donor supplies during this crisis, and as policy to continue going forward, the FDA have eliminated all mad cow/Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease screenings, reduced tattoo hold period from 12 months to 3, and male anal sex donors are welcome at discretion of facility. I doubt our “Health Minister” is aware of these policy changes or clued-in that we will also be importing these blood donations.

  6. So sad says:

    I understand the uk students from the brac were allow to travel directly to the brac from the uk via Grand Cayman without being isolated. So sad.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My heart goes out to Cayman Brac, if the elderly catch this, which now that there is one positive there, they will.

    Depending on your age an elderly person, regardless of whether they are in good health, would have roughly 10% to 30% chance of surviving. From what I have read if you are 70 plus on average you have a 30% survival rate, 80 plus a 20%, and 90 plus 10% or less.

    The very sad thing about it is for all the people who die from this disease, once they are admitted to hospital and are placed on a ventilator, they are not allowed visitors. The person succumbing to the virus, die alone and the family are told later that they have passed.

    For all those selfish people out there who think this disease is not a big deal, I hope you don’t have any elderly people in your family, I hope you don’t have any high risk persons, if you do and they catch it, probably best you start planning their funeral and taking care of their property and belonging before they pass. I am not being ultra negative, this is the actual medical reality.

    • Anonymous says:

      And a problem that we have on Brac is that many of our elderly are seen out and about whenever they get a chance – and everyone knows who they are. Some want to hold extended conversations in the shops like it is social hour. Sadly I don’t think these elderly folks “get it”.

      I would strongly encourage adult children and grandchildren to watch out for the elderly and try to assist them by doing their grocery shopping, paying bills, etc. And with shops trying to limit it to one person per household shopping at a time, why are you leaving that elderly person to sit in the car or out in front of the shop?

      I realize that some elderly do not have a family support system, but most have some sort of church and/or neighborhood people who can help them out.

      Mr. Alden is certainly right about being concerned. Would be nice to hear some public statements from our two representatives about this issue.

      Praying for all in our communities.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone provide a genuine reason why the bumbling idiot aka Minister Seymour is involved at all in these announcements. I’ve never heard him answer a question, add any value, speak coherently about anything and struggles to even read by the looks of things.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. Good afternoon Cayman islands and Cayman brac / little Cayman

      2. 42nd and 43rd time saying stay home in some foreign language

      3. Poem he wrote after lunch time.

      4. Prayer to the fairy that is yet to stop covid19

      – literally the substance of our health minister’s address to the nation during a public health emergency. Baffling.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s actually a cardboard cutout. Alden’s April fool joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is incredibly painful to watch. I actually cringe. He serves no purpose whatsoever. Sad thing is the actually thinks he is doing a good job. Someone needs to have a word in his ear and remove him from the panel and his post as Health Minister. Shambolic.

    • Anon says:

      8.33pm Please look on the bright side, he used to be a lot worse, but now at least he has someone intelligent to write his speeches.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Most Bracas most like will not get it as they have unnaturally elevated blood alcohol level.

    • Anonymous says:

      A select few of Brackas (inclusive of myself) are actually impaired if their BAC falls below 0.05

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone regardless of Surname visit the beach any day except Sunday to exercise?

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK is considering implementing no exercise outdoors. I guess they don’t want any healthy people fighting this virus.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As more people get IT and get over IT you will all see this is nothing other than highway robbery of your freedoms and privacies…check the illness statistics of others. #plainsight #swineflu #Anthrax #SARS #birdflu #madcow #inhumane #abnormal #ledastray

    • Anonymous says:

      Except if they’re dead but then they’ll still be smarter than you.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:


    • Anonymous says:

      There is an example of a Facebook post going around from a woman in her thirties reacting almost exactly like you a few weeks ago. Recently this same woman has posted on Facebook that someone very dear to her has died due to this awful virus. Don’t be like this woman, who very sadly learned the hard way how devastating Covid-19 can be.

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