230+ tested after primary school COVID-19 case

| 09/10/2020 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS: Government is waiting for results from more than 230 swabs taken from the contacts of a Year 2 student at Red Bay Primary School who tested positive for COVID-19 today before it makes any decisions about the current regulatory regime surrounding the virus. All the child’s close family members have already been tested and none were positive, though one sibling is showing some potential symptoms, Dr John Lee said Friday.

How the child became positive is still not established but it is understood the test was a weak positive. However, speaking at the COVID-19 press briefing on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said there was no reason to believe that this was a false positive. He was unable to say if the low level of viral load indicated that the child was in the early or late stages of the virus.

Outlining the timeline as to how the young student came to be tested for the coronavirus, HSA Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams said the child was showing symptoms from last Friday. Because of the school closure due to Hurricane Delta, the child had not been to school since then but was taken to the doctor on Wednesday, after which a decision was made to test for the virus. Because the result was positive, the school was informed first thing Friday and the containment protocols were activated.

The large number of swabs taken are from all of the children in Year 2 at Red Bay Primary, their parents, relevant staff and other possible close contacts of the impacted family.

The child’s mother works at the Needs Assessment Unit, so her colleagues have also been tested. NAU was closed today in any event for administrative purposes, and a deep cleaning that had been scheduled for the building later this week has now been brought forward.

Dr Lee said that further contact tracing continues and the Health Services Authority will be opening a drive-thru testing service tomorrow morning for anyone who feels they should take a test.

While this appears to be the first case of community transmission in almost three months, it may not necessarily be of significant concern, given the low viral load of the child. Nevertheless, Dr Lee said there has always been and continues to be a risk to the community, not just from those who might breach quarantine but because there are still weaknesses in Cayman’s border controls.

The port and airports remain open and staff return home to their families after work, having been in limited and controlled contact with those from overseas, but was contact nonetheless.

Dr Lee also confirmed at Friday’s press briefing that there were five other positive cases in travellers, bringing the total positive cases to six from a batch 255 completed tests.

Three of those positive tests were from newly arrived travellers currently in quarantine, none of whom have yet shown symptoms. Two were at the end of their 15 day isolation period and will now have to remain in isolation for ten more days.

Cayman now has eight active cases of the virus, two of which are symptomatic, including the child and a previous positive patient who remains in hospital in stable condition.

Commenting on the news that the young student had likely acquired the virus through unknown community transmission, Premier Alden McLaughlin said it was a very concerning situation but that government would wait on the test results before making any adjustments to the current regulations. Hopeful that this was a one-off situation, he pointed to the immediate and rapid response of public health officials.

McLaughlin said government would continue to be guided by the science and was not yet overly concerned that this indicated there was an outbreak.

There will likely be another briefing on Saturday after the swabs taken today had gone through the full testing process and further contact tracing had been undertaken. The premier said that government would then decide whether or not to reopen Red Bay Primary and what else might need to be done to continue to contain any further spread.

“We have in place now the systems, the expertise and the technology that is necessary to be able to quickly close down any outbreak of the virus should that be the case,” he said. “We are more than up to the task.” Pointing to the situation in New Zealand, he added, “We have always understood, as a government… that it is inevitable that there will be cases that will pop up.”

McLaughlin continued, “This virus is still very mysterious in some ways, and because a significant number of people are asymptomatic… they may pass it on.” Noting the steady flow of people coming and going, he said he was not sure how much more careful government could be.

Many people in the community want the government to further open the borders, but the premier said that would not happen until they were sure they could do safely based on the science. He accepted that Cayman cannot exist in a complete bubble going forward as no one knows how long this pandemic will last, but he urged people to look around the world and how many people continue to die.

See the full COVID-19 update on CIGTV below:

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Education minister has finally broken cover for the first time in months, thought she was an urban myth lol

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why bother testing anymore.. What is it going to prove? At this point the virus is already everywhere, so we might as well deal with it as we would with the common cold.. It is not as bad as it was 4 months ago because the virus has mutated itself to be more contagious but as it does that it loses its punch.. This is why common cold is easily spread but many dont even get sick.. Same with Covid. If Christ Christie being 300ilbs overweight can make it through in 3 days, than it is not a big deal now..

  3. Anonymous says:

    You really think that the spread of Covid to this child came from a rich person who came in on a private jet? Really?????

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    5 travelers positive in one day out of a hundred plus arrivals. The incidence of Covid is going up everywhere that the arriving flights are coming from so no surprise that the number of infected people detected is also going up. Lets hope that there are few false negatives!

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman should be requiring negative PCR test BEFORE travel….especially if they continue with home quarantine option. Then, require another negative before release from quarantine. If they required pre-testing it would cut down on the burden of our government.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    Unless it is for life saving medicine, those choosing to leave Cayman should not be allowed back.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree stay their butts where they at and was their choice to abandon Cayman, Caymanians and foreigners alike … NO pun intended here. This virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon by the looks of things and 5 people from 1 flight isn”t encouraging at all to open ORIA airport. people wake up and watch the news and you will see some scary totals of Europe, USA and elsewhere.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “He accepted that Cayman cannot exist in a complete bubble going forward as no one knows how long this pandemic will last, but he urged people to look around the world and how many people continue to die.”

    Please consider those who died from CV versus those who died with CV. It isn’t near as deadly as it is advertised. I have many friends that have had it and it runs the spectrum of horrible to they didn’t know they had it.

    This may very well linger like the flu – that is forever. The better question is how long will the CI economy last.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go home

      • Anonymous says:

        I love these well thought out reasoned responses. A by product of the world-class education system.

    • Anonymous says:

      At this point dying from it or dying with it doesn’t matter either. Unless one dies in an accident, all deaths are from something with something.

      Plus more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

      Take Nick Cordero, Canadian actor. Official version: Dead at 41 of COVID19. Unofficial chain of events: was first hospitalized on March 30 after being diagnosed with pneumonia. “He didn’t have a fever. He didn’t have a cough. He had a sense of smell, he had a sense of taste, so we really didn’t think it was COVID, especially his no preexisting conditions,” said Kloots[wife] . “Very shortly, after about only two days, he was on a ventilator and intubated.” He tested negative for coronavirus twice and was allegedly positive on 3d time. He spent six weeks (some sources say 13-18 days) in a medically induced coma to help his breathing. In late April his right leg was amputated after blood thinners used to help with clotting caused blood pressure issues and internal bleeding, according to Kloots. Additionally, the actor’s lungs were “severely damaged,” she explained. He had a succession of other health setbacks including mini-strokes, blood clots, septis infections, a tracheostomy and a temporary pacemaker implanted. April 25, family is waiting for him to come out of a medically induced coma nearly a week after doctors amputated his right leg. May 13 he wakes up, but He is extremely weak, so weak that he can’t close his mouth. “[His lungs] look almost like he’s been a smoker for 50 years. “There are holes in his lungs where obviously you don’t want holes to be.” July 6 he died. DID HE DIE FROM COVID, WITH COVID OR FROM TREATMENTS?

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s incredibly professional that the lovely Dr. Lee freely offered information about the mother’s place of work. (sarcasm) I wonder if he would have done the same had the child been from one of the private schools?

    During all of the press briefings previously, he made such special effort to stay tight-lipped about disclosing certain details that could result in the identification of infected persons. He seems to be losing his touch.

    CNS: The mother’s place of work was all over social media and the coconut telegraph, and because it’s a place where lots of people have to go, they wanted to know how officials were dealing with it. This is an occasion where being tight-lipped would have served no purpose at all and would have simply created the impression that government was hiding something.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS’ comment is spot on! It was released by others and specifically asked about. He is the utmost professional.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This fight against the wind is futile; has no point to it. Unless decimated economy is the goal. It is hard to grasp when paycheck is coming every month. Once the purse is empty, co-existing with the virus would suddenly appear not a big deal.

  11. Anonymous says:

    In full force to accomplish Mission Impossible.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is there not a Goal Ship we can park offshore for the positive cases and quarantine breachers? I for one am tired of going out and worrying about this virus to the point where sleep is limited. #FreeCayman

  13. Anonymous says:

    First of all, hope this child and family will be healthy and fine.

    This is exactly why a slow opening is necessary. It can be controlled if we go slow for now and able to monitor any outbreak.

    We are in a good position, just stop hating on each and everything.

    No one anywhere was expecting this, it is what is now.

    Agreed with Alden when he said in last press conference, look around the world Cayman is in such a good place etc.

    We have months of freedom when other countries are spiking.

    Take a deep breath and breathe.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Can I grow some northern lights this lockdown ?

  15. Anon says:

    Mr Alden continues display either ignorance of the objective facts of covid or a alterior deceptive intentions. Yes covid can be serious, but the fatality rate is under 1%. We cannot completely control nature as evidenced by our inability to stop death by cancer, tobacco, alcohol, diet, and other infectious disease. Yet Mr Alden continues this unrealistic narrative with the expectation of zero covid in Cayman. Who is following science now Mr Alden? Certainly not you. Were you following science when you advocated biobuttons which science has not demonstrated them to be useful in covid thus far? Just because there are continuing cases of covid does not mean it isnt controlled to an acceptable level, you seem to be missing this concept. As we have several months now of knowledge with covid, we need to adapt and approach our containment methods in a reasonable fashion. Panic, hysteria, and doomsday messages is not adaptation. Many countries are establishing a reasonable balance of control measures with disease prevalence, it is time Cayman acknowledges this capability.
    Given the continued reports of the corrupted practices of this government, I fear Mr Alden’s covid position is less altruistic and more personal.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Change the fines for breaching quarantine!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. However for whatever it’s worth: nobody will be truthful during contact tracing if they’ve visited someone in quarantine and broken the rule due to the fines. Not saying the fines should go away but people can’t be trusted so either we do away with self isolation, or put cameras on the house or a police officer or civil servant or something. People will break the rule, get sick, then lie about where they’ve been.

  17. Anonymous says:

    not just from those who might breach quarantine but because there are still weaknesses in Cayman’s border controlled … aka the wealthy flying in on private jets and doing as they please.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the weed boats.

      • Anonymous says:

        Boy. Unu jus have to blame Jamaica for everyting. If yu brave enough to buy weed, why yu dont jus grow it! Or better yet, stop smokin it! So yu have two choices to accept responsibility.

      • Anonymous says:

        Which wouldn’t come here if we had a local supply.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our economy is suffering. Wealthy people have money to spend here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey 7:41 pm! What is more important…….. staying alive or maintaining a “good economy”? Is money more important to you than your life?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your full of BS!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wealthy, or poor, flying in on private jets are far less likely to spread Covid19 than people who arrive on boats that immigration know nothing about.

      • Anonymous says:

        When did the poor start flying in on private jets? Do they get fed cake on these flights?

      • DLF says:

        What? We have people arriving under the cover of darkness that immigration knows nothing about? Say it ain’t so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jealous much? The wealthy are not the problem. Caymanian run border patrol is not run and done by expats. That is the weakness here.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you’re saying it’s best to get rid of Caymanians? Is that really your solution?

    • Anonymous says:

      What makes you think private aircraft passengers and crew are not following health regulations? Call the police if you think there is criminal activity!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wow & here comes another lockdown! Braca.

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