Positive patient taken to mandatory isolation

| 13/04/2020 | 68 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee at Monday’s press briefing

(CNS): Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said Monday that a containment order had been placed around an apartment block in George Town Central after concerns that a person at the complex who had tested positive for COVID-19 might have breached the mandatory isolation order. The CMO said there was “some confusion” over whether this was a formal breach but the person has already agreed to go, and has been moved, to the government-supervised quarantine facility.

The news comes on a day when just one person with a travel history, who was already in isolation, tested positive for COVID-19 from a batch of 44 samples.

But Dr Lee also revealed that the first patient here suffering with the virus has been placed on a ventilator and another two people have been admitted to hospital. Currently there are two patients at Health City Cayman Islands who are positive but asymptomatic for COVID-19 and being treated there for other health problems. Meanwhile, in addition to the patient on a ventilator, there are two more patients with symptoms of the virus who are at the HSA but they are said to be stable at the moment.

During his update at the daily COVID-19 briefing, the chief medical officer explained that “a containment area had been introduced” at the apartment complex in the capital where a risk assessment and testing were now underway. He said that work was also going on to find out if the people in the neighbouring apartments had been in contact with the patient.

He said this was the only potential breach of the mandatory isolation order imposed on those who have tested positive that he was aware of.

“I think this is probably the only instance where somebody had been given instruction but didn’t follow it and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt,” Dr Lee said. “We are making a lot of efforts behind the scenes… to monitor these situations… We have a lot of people absolutely in compliance.”

The CMO also noted the work going on to support those in isolation, helping them with their health and other needs during the time they are in a full round-the-clock lockdown.

Most of those self-isolating at home under mandatory quarantine, either because they tested positive or are in a household with someone who tested positive, are following the rules. Dr Lee said that around 67 people are currently under a mandatory isolation order.

Despite growing calls for people to be placed in government quarantine, as fears grow that those who are positive and isolating at home pose a risk to the wider community, Dr Lee said there was a lot of work going on to manage the positive patients that the public does not see. In several cases the people are unwell and going through symptoms relating to the virus and others who are asymptomatic but are in compliance.

According to his latest statistics, 20 people are largely symptomatic another 15 are suffering symptoms at home.

Although there are no plans to force people into government quarantine when they test positive, Dr Lee made it clear that people must follow the rules regardless of their virus status, otherwise people would die.

“If we help the spread of COVID-19 by gathering, by staying too close to others, then we are going to have deaths on our hands,” he said, as he pointed to the mass graves being dug around the world. “Can you please comply with the requests to stay away from others, stay isolated and stay home… That is what is going to protect this disease from spreading in our community.”

Now that Cayman has some 100,000 test kits on island, preparations are underway to ramp up the testing significantly from the end of this week. The HSA will then be able to move away from the current WHO restricted criteria for testing and begin testing all front-line workers, from police to supermarket staff, enabling those who test positive to be placed in isolation.

Meanwhile, despite the number of people who are now becoming ill with the virus, the HSA is not overwhelmed with sick people, as is the case in so many other countries. The flu hotline is answering around 75 calls per day and some 42 patients presented to the hospital flu clinic with possible symptoms over the last five days.

See the COVID-19 briefing on CIGTV below, set to start at Dr Lee’s prepared remarks:

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Comments (68)

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  1. Frigate-bird says:

    I have watched every Government news conference so far but there are two things I still can’t understand:
    What is the purpose of the ‘flu clinic’? Is it to deal with any potential flu patients or to screen potential Covid-19 patients? If the latter, then why is it called a flu clinic? Are you supposed to assume you have the flu and go to the clinic and then they will tell you, ‘no its not flu its the Virus?’

    The second thing is what is the point of mass testing? You test a doctor, say, and it comes out negative. Three hours later the same doctor could contract the virus and no-one would know until he/she displays symptoms. So why what was achieved by the test?
    This applies all over. Anyone tested can still pick up the virus right after being tested. We will soon use up the 100,000 test kits if everyone has to be tested repeatedly.

  2. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    So !
    A person who breaks the curfew, complies with police and pleads guilty gets four months in Northward. Fair enough.
    Then someone who is Covid19 POSITIVE and has been required to self isolate goes to a supermarket and doesn’t give a flying f*** about any of us, gets told to go back home and stay there this time. You can not blame the police for this. A law has to be brought in ASAP to deal with this!
    Why in the name of all that is sound and reasonable has this person not been sent to Fairbanks where we will all feel a lot better knowing she can be kept in isolation.
    What is the fine/sentence for not self isolating when you are Covid 19 POSITIVE ?
    These vermin need to be removed from the law abiding population ASAP.

  3. Anonymous says:

    9:25 ,my goodness I get Whatsapp from Mr bryan every day about press briefing and staying safe cayman,and I don’t even live in his constituents. This is not a hurricane,it’s a pandemic folks,,,,,,ain’t no good him talking to some them crowd .but he’s always out and about.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What I think the Government should do is as soon as they find someone positive is to offer them the choice of hotel isolation or self isolation. I believe a lot would take the hotel option..They wouldn’t have to worry about paying electricity bills and would get 3 meals a day plus the knowledge that someone from public health would check in with them on a daily basis..

    Just telling someone to self isolate will not work and if the government or the CMO can’t see this maybe the events of the Yellow Bird Apartments should shock their brains a little..

    We are at war and we are fighting for these people but if they continue to try to kill us off the war will never be won…

    Please stay home! I don’t care whether you have the virus or not…just stay home!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      And have them sign a contract that if they break isolation it will result in serious ramifications (whatever they may be).

  5. Hotel coronacation says:

    Do the people staying at the quarantine hotel have to pay for it?
    I’m just wondering why, if the hotel is an option for people to self-isolate why is there not a greater uptake? I’m assuming at the quarantine centre they getting free food and medication, wifi, tv, own bathroom, a pretty comfy bed and maybe a kitchenette. If they have a decent employer they getting sick pay and if they don’t, they have no food costs for 2 weeks. What am I missing here?

  6. Anonymous says:

    We need a total lock down. 14 days. Give everyone a two day notice so all can buy supplies. Then just shut it all down. No exercise, no take out, no one out of their house for two weeks unless they break a femur. Just so it! Rip off the band-aide.

    • Anonymous says:


    • John says:

      Do that and for the two days given to buy groceries the stores will be crowded and the virus will spread.
      It won’t stop infecting people while we buy groceries!
      This is exactly what happened in Turkey and the minister organizing was fired!!

      look at what the Asian countries have done and follow their example.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It only takes one positive person to spread this disease. It is irresponsible of our Government not to quarantine positive persons. I am giving up everything I have, my job, my pay cheque, my freedom to contain this disease. All so one a-hole can ruin it for an entire country. Quarantine!

  8. Anonymous says:

    We all need to ware masks and start getting back to work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Where is the Ebola tent Doc? Drop that bad boy over Rock Hole and be done.

  10. Anon. says:

    I got in line outside Fosters Camana two weeks ago, waiting to be allowed in. A Jamaican lady and two friends approached the line. All were wearing uniforms of the same restaurant. The Jamaican lady seemed bewildered as to why we were lining up outside. She was asking her friends what was going on and they too appeared to know very little. I wondered then how much real, vetted information is getting to people of every socioeconomic strata in this country. Not everyone listens to the talk radio shows, or reads CNS or some other legitimate source employing journalistic ethics. It was scary to think that there were people that were essentially clueless as to what to do, how to protect themselves and others. How do we help those people become better informed?

  11. Cayman Mon says:

    So at a time of a global pandemic and for us a national crisis, there is too much stupidity floating around. I think we desperately need a test for stupidity, in particular the strain called COVIDIOCY. All you haters, Monday morning quarterbacks and know it alls, need to stop your useless babblings. Stop criticizing the Government and just follow the GUIDELINES. STAY HOME CAYMAN…the life you save, may just be your own. May God pour out his mercy and grace upon us and protect us from all evil.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Please stop teachers from going to schools. Police should be sent to check, as some schools have teachers meeting there. Lock down means lock down.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can’t stop stupidity. It’s part of what makes us all Human. We have dealt with it in the past. We will deal with it now. We will continue to deal with it in the future. Do your part and keep yourself safe from other humans. Or not. Your choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Soldier Crab does have a point. Dr Lee, can you please remember you need to pitch your communication to high school level. Keep it as simple as possible and be as direct as possible.

      Just come out and say today we report right positives. The contacts for two are already known. We are contact tracing the other six.

      We are awaiting the results of ## tests from CARFA in Barbados.

      So far we have tested ## and we have had ## positives and ## negatives.


  14. Soldier Crab says:

    How many people really understand all of the information imparted at the daily briefings? Particularly when listening to the radio, the good English used by the panel, including Dr. Lee and Commissioner Byrne, is not that easily understood by those for whom English is not the first language, incuding those who customarily speak a patois or dialect. Yes probably most people over the age of five can understand ‘stay home’, but the nuances of self-isolation and contact avoidance might well simply wash over the heads of a significant proportion of the population.
    It is quite possible that a representative of the Public Health Dept. might explain in detail to an infected person the importance of following the given instructions, the listener may well smile, nod and say they understand. That does not mean the person really iunderstands at all; when dealing with an official you give the answer you think the official is expecting, then he or she will go away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wholesale corruption in relation to the testing and vetting of the English language skills of uneducated persons coming to work here with inadequate income, housing and protections turns around and bites us in the ass – with a very real possibility that people will die. Ponder that.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If the government plan as revealed today is 14 days and no new cases before any restriction are lifted. They may need to take a second look at the current policy on advising, educating and assisting positive cases. Is it possible this poor person today was uneducated to the facts and also did not have family or friends assistance or was unclear of exactly how long she should isolate or was unable to. Exactly for how long did this person mingle at supermarkets, gas stations and the apartment complex. How many people from the apartment complex that she mixed with have been to the supermarket in the last week. It seems the initial thoughts although great and worthy to try and eradicate the virus altogether and be one of the few countries in the world without it and open up internally again is no longer possible. The virus is here, there has been community transmission and we can no longer look at plan A as viable. We need to look at plan B keeping levels low, maintain social distancing so that the healthcare system here can cope and so that their are no spikes in cases. The other issue to keep in mind before imposing a 21 day curfew is the mental health of people. If you live in an apartment with multiple people and no garden this Is extremely difficult to do, if you live in a house with a garden it’s difficult to do. If you live in crystal harbor, salt creek and have 5,000 square ft of house and acres of private land to run, walk, play tennis it’s not quite so bad but still not desirable. At the end though of those 21 hard days the likelihood of no further positive cases is …..zero. we have no idea how many people are asymptomatic, the flu clinic seems to have a lot of calls each day, how many of those are Covid positive ? At least we now have the capability to test in large numbers and let’s hope that starts soon.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The Government and police is too easy on curfew breakers and way too easy on people that tested positive and the ones that had close contact with them thats breaking the strict isolated rules. Folks this is a very serious matter. Have common sense and do the right thing and obey the rules

  17. Anon says:

    One thing I am certain of, the GT case will never suffer the consequences of the Law, so we will continue to encourage the spread of the virus by these quarantine breakers.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 6:55 pm: nonsense. Don’t make this into some unnecessary political stump speech.

    If the person is sick and disregards the stay-at-home order, we don’t have time to be making egalitarian arguments. The govt has to act.

    We also want to position this mandatory isolation in the context of an opportunity for proper care that he or she may not get at home.

    It is also an opportunity to protect the rest of the household and the wider community.

    As far as I am concerned this should have been done a long time ago.

    As a Caymanian senior that lives alone, I would only be too happy to get some help at a time like this.

    This is a deadly disease and it is no respecter of persons, whether you live in the Ritz or in low income housing.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Rachel Maddow MSNBC show tonight revealed that the US Federal Govt has launched a criminal investigation in relation to an order for thousands of masks placed by one of the US states. I think it might have been California, not sure. The source country was one of the Arabian countries.

      Turned out it was a scam. No masks.

      Interestingly, the reason the Federal Government got involved was that it was attempting to intercept the order to, in Maddow’s words, “steal” the masks.

      Would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

      I was reminded of the intriguing story in the Compass today about our order of test kits from South Korea. Risky indeed, with so many twists turns.

      I am glad they took the risk, but just another sign of the nail biting tight rope that governments have to tread in theses times of Coronavirus.

  19. Anonymous says:

    as i said before….if you think the west indian community is practising social distancing you are living on a different planet.
    so alden, save all your ‘outrage’ about beach activity and the private sector….the lack of social distancing within your own community is the real problem.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Please test the supermarket workers first, this is where most of us venture when we are allowed out.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I can’t help but to wonder if the response would have been the same if this noncompliance was for someone living at the Ritz, Camana Bay or in some other rich neighborhood,

    We have been calling for stricter enforcement of quarantine for known positive COVID 19 cases and have been told that patient confidentiality was paramount and not even the police could be told who these people were or where they lived, what changed?

    In my opinion, what changed is that we found a case in the “hood” and it was okay to out that person, and lock in everyone in the immediate area.

    Sometimes it is downright criminal to be poor.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I think the curfew breaker should have been dealt with harshly, but we as a community have been reporting isolation breakers for some time and have never seen this response, if it is good enough for the goose, shouldn’t it be good enough for the gander?

    • Sell to only co-operative countries says:

      Please do not sell any test kits to any country who are refusing to have their own nationals to be repriated from Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did Donald Trump call you with suggestions on how to be petty about everything?

        • Anonymous says:

          I think what they are trying to say is that if Honduras and Jamaica won’t allow the generous repatriation of their own citizens, even at our expense, then maybe we shouldn’t waste our energy entertaining secondary favours on life saving supplies.

    • Anonymous says:

      What changed is that the government is worried and so are the rest of us.

      The model was not working: “managing” cases by home isolation home on the assumption that people will not report illness if there is a policy of mandatory isolation away from home.

      That assumption is not founded in the reality of our local conditions: we know that government-run facilities will be likely to provide better care than the average person is able to get at home.

      Common sense also tells us that if one person in close quarters get the illness, then others in the household are at risk. I don’t have a basement apartment to isolate myself in.

      Further, there is no stigma if I get Coronavirus virus, and if I need care, and can protect my family, then duh.

      Please feel free to offer me the opportunity for care I cannot get at home.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t agree with this. I think what changed was that gov officials were made aware of this breecher and did something about it. full stop.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Lee, with great and sincere respect, we now know that asking nicely has not worked. That whole apartment complex and all in it should now be a mandatory quarantine area. We will not know the impact of this breach for weeks. We can now only hope for the best, but the reality is that the risk for us all has been heightened to unacceptable levels by too much trust being placed in a human being who was ill equipped to deal with the enormity of the responsibility placed on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      This! And now we all must suffer even longer lock down until we know how bad that area will get.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, we may need to further restrict activities on all strata common property for flagrant abuses of the spirit of isolating. People are still using pool furniture, deck, doggie play dates, tennis court use with non household – even hosting tennis lessons with visiting pro/clientele. I’m afraid a full lockdown is coming for us all if all these idiots don’t cease and desist.

    • Why no criminal charges says:

      Knowing spreading a deadly disease is a criminal offence under the penal code. This person needs to be arrested, detained and charged and a swift court case. If found guilty this person should be fined and imprisoned and made an example because this person doesn’t care.
      If this does not happen this person is well connected and the police needs to answer why they refusing to invesitage the matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ Anonymous 13/04/2020 at 6:51pm – if you know for a fact that people are socializing I assume you’ve a) spoken to them b) advised the authorities?

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS, what happened to the idea of sending in footage of people not practising isolation or safe distancing?

      CNS: I don’t want to give a blanket answer. I’d decide based on each video.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is utterly unacceptable. They were told to isolate but did not do so. This is why unless people who test positive and their families are moved into a secure lock down area community spread will continue. We isolate people flying in. Why should things be different for everyone else? It’s not the beaches that are the issue, its people like this. I hope they are fined heavily. This is outrageous and i don’t believe that is the only case of this happening. Confusion my ass. If you test positive how could there be any confusion!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s not forget, the person concerned was a risk long before they tested positive. The reliance on positive test results before any formal steps are taken is foolhardy, and dangerous.

      • Anonymous says:

        The HSA (or whoever made the determination) should carry some responsibility for this. It is reminiscent of the early days when someone connected with the hospital tried to demand that someone self isolating physically attend accident and emergency at the hospital. This (again) seems to fall in the “shit you could not make up” category. Perhaps that’s why the experts refer to what may happen next as a “cluster.”

      • Anonymous says:

        The testing protocol needs to change. By the time the person is showing symptoms it’s too late. Once we find one person (who should be quarantined in a secure location), the testing needs to be for the contacts. People are asymptomatic and spreading it unknowingly. That is the issue. By the time they showing symptoms it’s already too late for the rest of us.

        • Anonymous says:

          It will change now that we can increase our testing capability

        • Anonymous says:

          Sure, and everyone needing testing also needs to be kept locked down until there is a confirmed negative result.

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