Antibody tests reveal nine mystery COVID-19 cases

| 18/08/2020 | 52 Comments

(CNS): Cayman remains COVID-free for another day after 286 PCR tests carried out over the last day were all negative. Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee also revealed that from 2,316 antibody blood tests for the coronavirus done so far, just 57 samples have been positive and only nine cannot be explained. Of the positive results, 37 were from people who had previously tested positive on a PCR test.

Another six were contacts of those who had been tested and confirmed to have the virus, though they themselves did not get a positive test. Five people who did not have a positive PCR test had a travel history, suggesting they had picked up the virus overseas. This left just nine people who have no identified COVID-19 contact history and must have unknowingly been infected with the virus through community transmission.

Most of the antibody testing has been among those who were known to be positive or they are healthcare and other front-line workers, all of whom either had the virus or had been in close contact with others who had. Therefore, the group is not a broad sample. The 2.5% positivity rate does not paint a true picture of the prevalence of COVID-19 in this community over the last six months.

Cayman has conducted 33,434 PCR tests in total since March, and according to public health officials, around 90% of those tests were on separate individuals. Given that just 203 people have been confirmed as positive, that PCR positivity rate is less than 0.5%

It has now been almost four weeks since the last person known to be infected was cleared by public health officials and over five weeks since anyone tested positive. While testing numbers have dropped off over the last few weeks, technicians are still processing over 1,000 test per week and Cayman has a testing rate of more than a 500,000 per capita.

All of this serves to support the idea that the islands are now genuinely COVID-19 free, putting greater pressure on government to ensure that if the borders are reopened, there is even greater emphasis on safety. Although the virus does appear to have been eradicated here, it could easily re-enter without a well planned and very well controlled isolation and testing system once the borders open.

As the country waits to hear from government on its plans for the border reopening on 1 October, it continues to manage a strict mandatory 14-day quarantine system. At present, 181 people are in isolation, either at a government facility or in their homes, as required by the medical officer of health.


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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (52)

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  1. Brandy Darby says:

    Also important to consider the sensitivity and specificity of the antibody test. The positive predictive value will be better in populations with higher disease prevalence. Cayman never had a high prevalence, so these could be false-positive test results.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So were these folks “testing” the bio button? Was either case picked up?

  3. Anonymous says:

    90% of all flu related deaths occur in adults over the age of 65.
    Perhaps we should never open our borders and remain under the status quo forever.

    In keeping with our new brave ethos, not 1 life is worth any expense.

    If you disagree you want grandma to die.

  4. The Holiday Inn is only being used as a quarantine facility- they are not doing staycations like The Wyndham. There are a lot of quarantine rooms available, the facilities are rarely if ever full. Maybe, everyone should be asking that if the rooms are available perhaps the reason why the government aka travel time won’t allow “Caymanians ” to return is that they will be a burden on an already overstretched NAU.?? Caymanians who haven’t lived on the island for years, have no job to come home to, who will they rely on? NAU.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Need to test those arriving by drug canoe. Just saying

  6. Anonymous says:

    Look in the comments and see the disagreements about quarantine facilities. Why is this a secret? This should NOT be a guessing game nor something to argue about. Just tell us what is going on!
    The gowernment needs to STOP KEEPING SECRETS. Transparency goes a LONG way. Duh.
    Hey Cayman!! THIS is why you stay in such a mess.
    Transparency will set you free. Unless you don’t want your people to know what you’re up to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Govt facility = holiday inn, fine….but WHY am I hearing of wealthy people staying at the Ritz?

      Staycation safe folks cannot and must not mix with quarantine?

      WTF, and WHO gets to go home instead of 14 days quarantine? WHY? How are they special and how are they watched?

      August 19th and 14 days AFTER landing we finally now hear TWO new cases? What flights? You are NOT giving up privacy to name a fricken plane and date.

  7. Anonymous says:

    In terms of managing inbound travel expectations: right now it’s 14 days in hotel room hard quarantine until you might qualify to be initially PCR tested. Perhaps that happens on the 14th or 15th day; and then a second one, and hopefully get happy clear bill of health on 16th or 17th day…or not. Your mileage may vary. Speed and effort may also play a role depending on location of hotel you’re in, number of tests being conducted that day (or elsewhere), mobile unit staffing, political priority of fellow travelers, their circle of influence versus your own, lab availability etc. etc.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s a balancing act … this “downtime” can be used for staycations, and in some instances for improvements. Additionally, without firm plans from CIG on reopening – hotels need to be “ready-open” so that as soon as they can accept visitors they can open their doors. If they are taking in quarantine guests then they will have a great deal of cleaning to do before they can accept guests.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last year we had 500,000 stay over visitors. With 50,000 people on island how exactly is your plan to work? It costs money to renovate and there is no income. How do 50,000 people, who already have a place to live, make a dent? Do you see the logical conclusion of this?

  9. Anonymous says:

    It has been found that things work completely differently in COVID-19 and suggests that the existing antibody tests are based on false assumptions.

    #1 IgA, rather than IgM, should be used to indicate a recent infection.
    #2 there are patients who had recovered from infection with Covid-19, but didn’t have any antibodies against it.
    #3 people infected with Covid-19 tend to have T cells that can target the virus, regardless of whether they have experienced symptoms.
    #4 some people can test negative for antibodies against Covid-19 and positive for T cells that can identify the virus.

    Conclusion: some level of immunity against the disease might be twice as common as was previously thought. 40-60% of UNEXPOSED individuals had these cells (T cells that can identify the virus).

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said…..Now we just need people to accept this.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest, we also don’t know what we don’t know. Those that have “had” the virus, can also have no lasting immunity, present low viral load/shedding on test day, and then have a terrible resurgence of disease months later. It would appear that a “flu” strain-specific vaccine might not necessarily deliver any lasting inoculative effect as we all presume because this is a new disease. The ChAdOx1 Oxford-AZ anti-spike model, which identifies the corona-shape, and illuminates it to immune system as a foreign invader, rather than a strain-specific virus signature, might offer the best theoretical solution of all of those under development. In early testing it required 2 doses and 91% efficacy in small test group by day 28, which to be blunt, doesn’t really shed any illness-time off getting it for real. Study continues…

      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31604-4/fulltext

  10. Anonymous says:

    Fact 1: Persons who contracted the virus from community spread quarantine at home.
    Fact 2: Persons who travel and are deemed to have medical condition quarantine home, upon returning to the islands.
    Fact 3: We have zero cases. Our hospitals have no one in for the virus.
    Conclusion: Based on the above, obviously the virus can be defeated by quarantine at home. Get rid of the costly and inhumane government facilities and let people return to their homes! The New York governor is pleading with wealthy New Yorkers to return home. Since Alden modeled his response off of New York he should do the same. The model certainly was not New Zealand where government leaders took pay cuts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, in the real world, persons go into Government quarantine facilities by choice to protect loved ones at home who are at risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      YES by choice……I have a choice I should have a choice as well to isolate at my home!

      • Anonymous says:

        What about my choice for my grandmother not to get covid? What about my choice to not go back into lockdown because returning travellers or other members of their household that they are supposedly quarantining with decide to go out. Do you think every member of every household with returning travellers is willing to quarantine for 14 days? Everyone knows what will happen because that is what happened before when multiple cases were linked to returning travellers. If hundreds of travellers are allowed to “quarantine” at home, we will be right back in lockdown.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your post is five months out of date. The world has changed.

        • Anonymous says:

          The odds of your grandmother catching covid are remote. The odds of her dying from it even less. You are NOT the only one with a grandmother.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s right as I said I have a choice and do do you.

          I will meet you in the middle …….I will test 3 days before coming and isolate for 5 and then test after arrive.

          This is what sensible governments do and compromises and mitigate the risk.

          Now you can choose to have no risk and stay home for the next 3 years till there is a vaccine or this test s over but my grandparents want me to visit!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you also ask these ridiculous accommodations for your grandmother every year for the flu? Do you know how many people die from the flu each year (including children)? Same as COVID, only it doesn’t get the same media interest, time to step back and get perspective. People die every day from all kinds of things, we don’t get to play god, stop with the fear mongering.

          CNS: In April in England and Wales, the number of deaths was well above double the 5-year average, a very sharp and indisputable spike. See here and scroll down to the graph. It also shows 5-year average for flu deaths. The reason for this spike is because the PM did not take COVID seriously soon enough. Once lockdown and hygiene protocols were put in effect, the death rate came down. Covid is not flu. If you want more convincing, read this in the Economist.

          • Anonymous says:

            CNS. With social distancing, masks and sanitization, which is the world we will live in till there is a vaccine, covid is equivalent to the flu. Everyone now knows why spikes occurred. Most countries now respect and adhere to what needs to be done.

          • Anonymous says:

            CNS – I have had a normal cold that was way worse than COVID

            Just saying there must be 10 or 20 times the people out there that have had it and did not know.

            And before you say it would show up on Antibody test, they are junk and not accurate I have had 3 and never showed posotive weeks and months after having 3 positive PCR tests.

            So for some the flu is way way worse and for some COVID is way worse. But we don’t go into a world of lockdowns for a bad flu season!

            CNS: Did you actually look at the links? The 5-year average number of deaths per week in England and Wales in March through May is about 10,000, a fraction of which are deaths from flu. But in April 2020 that number suddenly started to rise, peaking at about 22,000 per week. That means that while 2-3,000 people per week died of flu, which health services were expecting based on yearly average, they suddenly had to deal with an additional and unexpected 12,000 deaths per week. These particular figures do not include all those who were hospitalized and recovered, possibly with long-term or irreversible damage to their health.

            So this was not only devastating to those who died and their families, it presented doctors and nurses with a very sudden and devastating strain on them, their mental health as well as hospital beds, PPE, etc. Many healthcare workers described it as a war zone, not least because it sometimes got to the level where they had to decide which of the sick people in their care to save because they didn’t have enough resources.

            There is so much unknown about Covid, including why most people are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms – though this is one reason why it spreads so easily – and why it becomes a very serious and often deadly disease for others. It also seems to happen in clusters – which is why it is so important to keep it out of here. This isn’t the flu. By the way the Economist link looks at “excess deaths” in other countries.

            • Anonymous says:

              The point is it is different for everyone and the story of asymptomatic people spreading it easily in my case is BS! Not one person caught it from me and they where in very tight living arrangements for the 13 days before my test finally came back positive.

              As you said so much unknown and maybe a lot of hype. This does not change the point, people should have a choice and there must be compromise, so the airport must open with a reasonable procedure 14 to 17 days in a hotel when available is not it!

              Other islands have managed to do just fine with systems in place why are we not doing the same!

            • Anonymous says:

              In the 2014/15 flu season nearly 30K died from the flu in the UK. Nobody talked about a lockdown, a quarantine or social distancing.

              Did everyone hate old people back in the old days 6 years ago?

            • Anonymous says:

              Can I have a picture of you with your intubation tube during your normal cold? Lucky you with the Uber strong immunity. Love the farkhew attitude you have towards those less fortunate… what a self centered ass….

        • Anonymous says:

          What about my choice to bury my grandmother? Not all my grandparents were from Cayman, one died and I was denied the right to attend her funeral.

      • Anonymous says:

        Do we get the choice to keep you off island until you can play by the rules? We are here. You are there. Let’s stay put until this can be sorted…

  12. Anonymous says:

    What are the medical and legal basis for the government quarantine facilities?

  13. Anonymous says:

    At their homes CNS?..
    Only if they have a medical reason not because they want to!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Many people (including Caymanians) continue to be denied access to Cayman, even though they are quite prepared to come in through stringent government controlled quarantine. The reasons are nothing to do with lack of flights, but more to do with lack of quarantine facilities. For reasons that must be obvious, our borders will not be functionally open at any time this year. Nothing will change on 1 October. Given this why are there not more quarantine facilities coming online? We have thousands of empty tourist accommodations to use and thousands of people willing to pay for quarantine. Where is the disconnect?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am also in shock about this – The plane scheduled to come back to Cayman next week will be half full because of lack of quarantine spaces – there are many people ready and willing to purchase a ticket on that plane – to send it back half full is insane!

      • Anonymous says:

        They only fill the planes half way to maintain social distance for passengers onboard. I would not want to get on a full flight.

        • Tundi says:

          Incorrect. They only fill the seats depending on how many CIG isolation rooms are available.
          The hotels don’t want them as they are filling rooms with staycation visitors who do not want to be next door to someone who has just returned from Miami.
          FACT!,!!!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, a relative flew from Miami (lived there for 8 months) to Istanbul, then to Cape Town and tested negative upon arrival. Still
          healthy. Both planes were completely full.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because our government is beyond stupid! They have no medical justification for their quarantine facilities. They have no idea if and how to open up by October. This Simply will not happen. Only after people are allowed to quarantine at home will Cayman make any progress towards opening up. Why is it persons are allowed to quarantine at home? Didn’t they likely come from hospitals abroad where one goes if they have the virus? Aren’t the government facilities cleansed and safe? As with everything in Cayman rules and laws are only for those without connections.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:48 pm
      They need to apply for a work permit in order to get home. How many permits were approved during the lockdown??
      We are between a rock and a hard place.

      • Anonymous says:

        They have work permits! There is simply no room for them in quarantine! The jobs are now increasingly being done overseas. Some will not now be coming back. The damage to the economy and our future could be permanent, and still no action!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Only Dart properties are being used. Comfort Suites, Palm Heights, and the Ritz.

  15. J says:

    Unfortunately we only learn by our mistakes.

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