One positive among 673 COVID-19 tests

| 29/05/2020 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Public health has now tested around 16% of the local population for COVID-19 and so far just 141 people have proved to be positive. Only one sample from a batch of 673 test results revealed by Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee on Friday was positive, as test numbers reached 11,139. This latest positive person is asymptomatic and was picked up as part of the screening programme.

The CMO confirmed at Friday’s COVID-19 press briefing that only one person is currently symptomatic among the 72 active cases and no one is admitted to hospital with this virus.

The screening programme will be pressing ahead next week as officials aim to test 25% of the population over the next three weeks to enable the community to move to level two on the phased re-opening process.

Around 818 people have now been swabbed on Cayman Brac, where they are already close to level two. So far, just three people have turned out to be carrying the virus, including the first case on the islands several weeks ago. The target of 50% of the population for the Brac testing programme is expected to be reached sometime next week.

Testing of construction workers also continues, as that industry will be opened up completely on Monday, with all those employed on sites and related industries returning to work. Dr Lee said that around 15% of workers in that sector have now been tested and they have shown a very low positive rate of about 0.5% so far.

Dr Lee revealed that the HSA has procured a new testing machine with the help of the UK that will allow for much quicker test results. Dr Lee explained it is a gene expert machine and works differently from a PCR machine using cartridges. This makes the process simpler, but while it means faster results, it can only do four tests at once and will be ideal for emergency test results.

However, once the machine has gone through its checks and HSA staff are trained, the machine is likely to go to Cayman Brac. This will give the Brac public health officials some independence in the face of the hurricane season and to cover the need for continued testing there.


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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    ever thought that people have improved on the PCR methods since the inventor said that? inventions don’t stay static, others are always building on them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why has there been no update on the status of the British military support team, one of whom was designated to be “borderline positive” for covid 19 (whatever that meant)? His Excellency nor Government haven’t spoken a word and local media have never followed-up to inquire.

    Can the Cayman Islands get an update please?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am so blessed to live in Cayman. Thank you CIG.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Even if these are false positives, it wouldn’t matter to those in charge.

    Good luck explaining test sensitivity and specificity, or Type 1 and Type 2 errors to those in power. The premier is taking these results as “proof” that covid is still running rampant and undetected in our country. The sad thing is, if this is the prevailing view, false positives will keep us locked up until the end of time as the more we test, the more false positives will occur

  5. Anonymous says:

    Seems that that curve that we were meant to flatten has now been stomped to death.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is there any data on the false positive and false negative rates of the PCR tests we’ve been using? And have we got independent confirmation on our positive tests from the Caribbean Public Health Agency? At the levels of testing we are performing, and low levels of positive results over the last two weeks, even a 0.5% false positive rate would likely indicate these asymptomatic results are actually false positives from a statistical standpoint

    • Anonymous says:

      All positives are sent to CARPHA for independent verification. 10% of negatives are sent for the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        If we are running 400-500 tests per day, that would mean we are sending 200+ results per week to CARPHA for verification? Would the samples even be viable by the time they arrive at their lab (Barbados?)

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems as though the PCR testing approach does result in a level of false positives, however the exact level is not clear

      I found an interesting article by a microbiologist which provides more context on your question:

      https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-tests-are-pretty-accurate-but-far-from-perfect-136671

      What makes a medical test ‘accurate’?
      The accuracy of a medical test is determined by measuring two things: sensitivity and specificity.

      A sensitive test will correctly identify people with the disease. Sensitivity measures correct positive results.

      If a test is 90% sensitive, it will correctly identify 90% of people who are infected – called a true positive. However, 10% of people who are infected and tested would get a false negative result – they have the virus, but the test said they don’t.

      A specific test will accurately identify people without the disease. Specificity measures correct negatives.

      If a test is 90% specific, it will correctly identify 90% of people who are not infected – registering a true negative. However, 10% of people who are not infected will test positive for the virus and receive a false positive.

      To reiterate: Sensitivity measures positive accuracy; specificity measures negative accuracy.

      • M McLaughlin says:

        The inventor of the PCR test said before he died that it should never be used to diagnose infectious diseases, yet these people in power continue to take us for a ride. This is all you need to know about the PCR test, 30%+ false positives and negatives are common. Remember a pawpaw and a goat tested positive in Tanzania, and the UN still has refuted these results which came from one of their laboratories.

      • Anonymous says:

        Headline: lives are destroyed and civil rights violated because the Cayman Islands Government doesn’t understand math!

    • Anonymous says:

      The false positive rate varies based on the prior probability (before test) of having Covid. Based on 1014 patients in Wuhan, China, of whom 601 tested positive and 413 were negative for COVID-19, the PCR test correctly identified covid cases about 77% of the time, while correctly identified the absence of Covid 98.8% of the time.

      While an oversimplification, this implies a false positive rate of 1.2% when 60% of the testing sample has Covid. Put another way, this would mean 12 out of 1000 test results will result in a positive test result where the person does not actually have Covid

      It is unlikely that 60% of our population has the virus, so the false positive rates are likely to be far higher.

      https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.24.20078949v1

  7. Anonymous says:

    The quarantine situation needs to be sorted once and for all. Why are returning travellers required to quarantine at government facilities while confirmed positive cases are sent home to self isolate? This is unjustifiably inconsistent – returning travellers have been mostly negative and thus pose less risk than a known positive. Secondly, if quarantine is going to continue to be required, why are more facilities not being made available immediately? There are residents in many places (not just the UK) that want and deserve to come home. There are those on island who want to go away for medical needs, to take students to school, or even check on elderly parents – and who need to return afterwards. This is not “vacation” – taking these trips is complex, difficult and time consuming enough without being told you can’t come back because there’s rarely space in quarantine.

    Keep the quarantine facility open for essential workers who don’t want to stay home and positive patients who can’t safely isolate elsewhere, but isolation at home needs to be the primary option. It’s cheaper and not subject to availability. Do random checks and make the penalties for breach stiff – $10,000 and immediate transfer to a quarantine facility on the first offense. No second chances. If CIG were truly worried about positive patients wandering about the island and infecting everyone, they wouldn’t be allowing self isolation now.

    Please sort this out properly, with consistency and transparency, so that those who want to come home or need to travel for essential purposes can get on with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The quarantine facility should only be for those who have tested positive. It’s simple, fair and effective! If the objective is to get cases to zero this can only be done by truly isolating the positives. What is being done is not only inconsistent but embarrassingly stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        People will be reluctant to get tested if they know that there is a chance that they will have to go to an isolation facility. That won’t help at all.

        • Anonymous says:

          The original post was about returning travelers. They ALL get tested. No exception. So your point is?

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue here is the risk of false negative results- which is higher than most people realize for the PCR test- it’s also why they are requiring two negative tests before releasing people.

        That being said, 14 days of isolation seems excessive!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is unfortunate that the people who returned initially either did not understand or were unwilling to have their whole household quarantine themselves. The positives that resulted from this alarmed the public and led to the government opening the isolation facilities.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yet still no plan.

  9. Anonymous says:

    For those who say these results are due to the lockdown, what about those who said from the beginning that the numbers / models were grossly exaggerated?

    • Anonymous says:

      Boy , I wish I had their crystal ball.

      • Anonymous says:

        They weren’t quiet. And they were certainly ridiculed by the fear mongers. But that’s okay, there were plenty of opportunities in the markets and more to come in Cayman thanks the Cayman being set back at least a decade.

    • Anonymous says:

      A better question is if lockdowns were justified in the beginning with only 8 cases, why are they removing lockdowns with 140 known cases? Could it be that the lockdowns never made sense to begin with?

      • Anonymous says:

        You dumbass, how many of those 140 cases have recovered? Please don’t be so stupid.

        • Anonymous says:

          You missed the point. More people have it now than at the beginning of lockdown. Logic dictates …

        • M McLaughlin says:

          9:56pm makes a brilliant point, I asked myself the same question on May 22, when they announced 8 frontline workers tested positive and 7 of the 8 resulted from community spread, this was the moment the premier and his COVID19 advisory committee realized they cant control this virus with their draconian mandates.

          I wondered where was the concern that was shown when they were announcing one new case, just a week prior?

      • Anonymous says:

        Correct. Another irony. Seems the main source of our positives is the U.K., yet that bridge remained open.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could they perhaps… not be the same people…

    • Anonymous says:

      A study of 35 Countries in the Caribbean. 1 being good, 35 being bad. In cases per population Cayman ranks 33 out of 35. Bermuda ranks 35. This will be attributed to superior testing. It also implies the tests are accurate. Yet when one suggests returning home, the fear mongers suggest the tests are not accurate. In deaths per population Cayman ranks 20th, Bermuda 33. I’ve argued from the begging that our unfortunate visitor’s death should not count as ours. In fact, the U.K. claimed that death. If we don’t count that death, we rank 10 out of 35. The following countries have no deaths, Bonaire, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent, Saint Kitts, Saint Barts, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. 45,471,706 people live in the Caribbean. There are 25,769 cases or 0.0567% of the population. There are currently 855 deaths attributed to Covid-19 in the entire Caribbean. Some perspective. In 1980 844 people died in Jamaica’s election violence. When Cayman locked down we were using models suggesting mass deaths. For instance, California with a population of 39,510,000 thought they would suffer 250,000 deaths. The reality, almost halfway through the year, is 3,708 deaths. Put in further perspective, the vast majority of persons “dying” from Covid-19 had underlying issues and or were well up in age and or underlying health issues. This is not a virus we should be fearing based on mass media, one which will soon turn to US elections. However, it is a virus we should respect by washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks in close quarters where one cannot distance oneself from others. The elderly have to take extra precautions and we should all do our best to make them comfortable.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm. I wonder what Cayman and Bermuda have in common?

      • Anonymous says:

        Makes 100% perfect sense, but believe you me, we will continue as though it’s the black plague and slowly un-boil the frog so the folly is not as noticeable.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That was very unclear today, which businesses can open on Monday? Any retail?

  11. Anonymous says:

    COVID19 has caught the world with its pant down. Knee-jerk reactions followed.

    Zillion “experts” appeared out of nowhere further confusing themselves and everyone else. Fake news&science further clogged minds already on the brink of insanity.

    Should the world’s leaders, scientists and general population see COVID 19 as a rehearsal for what might yet to come on a much different, more deadly scale?

    Despite seemingly large number of deaths triggered, but not necessarily caused by C19, this virus is weak, compared to Black Plague for example. It is easily destroyed by common cleaners, doesn’t survive long on surfaces and leaves 99.9% infected asymptomatic. It might sound cruel to the deceased and their families, but the rest of us GOT LUCKY this time.

    What strategy should the world develop to be ready for the next, much stronger, more deadly infections and viruses?

    How do you control highly contagious diseases caused by various biological agents that result in high mortality and morbidity rates in a deeply integrated world populated by 7,500,000,000 people?

    No country in the world could afford to spend as much as it takes in an attempt to save each and every life.
    With more deadly, more contagious infection there might not be enough medical personnel to take care of all who got sick, no knowledge of how to treat new infections, no vaccines, not enough medical facilities for critical patients.

    How should the world prepare for such a scenario?

    Should humans give up their power over their own lives and allow politicians to dictate the course of actions for everyone to follow?

    All Constitutions guarantee the Right to Life to all. T. Jefferson describes the broad categories of natural rights including Life. Not the right to a life to which one feels entitled, but the right to live your life as you see fit according to the dictates of your own conscience and within the bounds of the rights of your neighbors to the same. These are negative rights. They do not describe what one is owed by the government or society; they describe our right to be left alone. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
    How do we reconcile threats to life (during pandemic) with “right to live your life as you see fit “?

    Should distancing become a mantra written on every corner which with time no-one would even notice? Humans are social beings, human touch is healing. In isolation people die fast.

    Should we try to save everyone knowing it is physically and financially impossible?

    We could enact the most draconian laws ever to control spreading, yet, new viruses could be powerful and spread like wildfire. Or it could be weak and mild. How are we going to decide which measures to implement ?

    If one thing for sure C19 has taught us-lockdowns is not the way to go, unless we want to precipitate back into 18 century poverty, destitute and misery.

    One thing is clear, at least to me, going bonkers with disinfections will accomplish very little, yet increase the number of people suffering from autoimmunity and allergy. One size fits all doesn’t work when it comes to viruses. Killing all animals in a zoo when you only wanted exterminate mosquitos is not the way to go.

    What should we do? Should we start thinking today?

    P.S. Here is some data pertaining to Human population growth over all of history. May be helpful to look at things in perspective.

    While our ancestors have been around for about six million years, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in the earnest only in the 1800s.

    ✅ It took over 200,000 years of human history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, and only 200 years more to reach 7 billions
    ✅From 1820 to 2020 population increased by 6 billions.
    ✅The controversial Toba catastrophe theory suggests that a bottleneck of the human population occurred approximately 70,000 years ago, proposing that the human population was reduced to perhaps 10,000–30,000 individuals
    ✅At the end of the Black Death in 1350, worlds population was near 370 million.
    ✳️The first successful smallpox vaccine was developed in 1796
    ✳️1885 rabies vaccine was the next
    ✳️1890-1897 tetanus, typhoid fever, bubonic plague
    ✳️1921-present time, nearly 35 vaccines were developed.

    If the above data is accurate, it took roughly 450 years, from 1350 to 1800, for human population to grow from 370 mil. to 1,000,000,000 and 200 years to go from 1 bil. to 7.5 bil.

    • Anonymous says:

      This space is for posting comments. You need to go elsewhere if you want to publish a book.

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