No sign of outbreak re school COVID-19 case

| 10/10/2020 | 80 Comments
Cayman News Service
CMO Dr John Lee at Saturday’s press briefing

(CNS): Over 200 samples taken from Red Bay Primary School students, teachers, staff and connected families have all come back negative for COVID-19. “This case is not a clinical threat to the community,” Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said Saturday about the positive sample from a child at the school on Friday. But as everyone breathed a sign of relief that there is no sign of an outbreak of the virus at the school, Dr Lee revealed at a press briefing that the condition of one COVID-positive patient has deteriorated.

In a stark reminder of the dangers of the coronavirus, Dr Lee confirmed that the symptomatic patient, who has been in hospital this week, is now on a ventilator. The individual, who returned to Cayman last month, became ill with the virus while in quarantine and is one of only a handful of people here who have suffered the worst of the symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Cayman has been fortunate and of the 221 cases recorded since March, only one person has died. Patient zero, an Italian national, was the first person to test positive after leaving a cruise ship because of an unrelated medical emergency. He was treated at Health City, where he later died.

But well over one million people have died as a result of the coronavirus in ten months. Many more millions have been very ill as a result of the infection, with growing numbers of people who have recovered reporting long-term problems.

Cayman has worked hard to keep the virus out and most of those it has impacted have, fortunately, been asymptomatic. At present there are nine active cases.

Public health laboratory staff worked into the early hours of the morning Friday-Saturday, running 346 tests from the contacts of the student suspected of having the virus at Red Bay as well as travellers who arrived Friday, only one of whom was positive but is asymptomatic.

A quality control on the positive sample taken from the student also came back negative, suggesting that this could be a lingering case of the virus but that the child is unlikely to be contagious now. However, given the gargantuan efforts Cayman has made to keep the virus at bay, Dr Lee said that, in line with WHO safety protocols, the family will remain in isolation.

To ensure that the virus has not spread, he has advised that the Year 2 students at Red Bay and the associated staff and their families all remain in isolation for 14 days from their last contact with the child, which in most cases was one week ago on 2 October, when the student was last in class.

Red Bay school will not close but the absence of at least six teachers there and in other government schools because they are parents of children at Red Bay in that year group, means that support teachers will be brought in to plug the gaps, according to Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. She said that the 54 impacted students will switch to home learning, though this will only be for four days since government schools begin the mid-term break next Friday.

Dr Lee confirmed that the families impacted are being trusted to follow isolation protocols under public health management, as was the case with all residents who acquired the virus, or were contacts of those who acquired the virus, during lockdown. The CMO confirmed they would not be asked to wear the geofence tags.

Meanwhile, there are now 200 people using the geofencing technology after travelling to Cayman from overseas since the beginning of the month and 191 people in government quarantine.

But it is not just those returning from overseas who pose a threat. Local workers at the airport, those at the quarantine facilities and healthcare workers all come into contact with those arrivals. And even though they are all using protective equipment, Dr Lee said there has never been a zero risk and we need to remain vigilant.

The Red Bay student case caused real concern, resulting in a surge of people wanting to be tested. The HSA drive-thru test service on Saturday morning was at capacity, and will therefore reopen on Monday at 7:30am to allow people to get tested without registering.

Anyone not able to attend can still get tested by registering online and booking an appointment, as government continues to offer free testing and encourages everyone to take advantage of the service.

Request an appointment for a free COVID-19 test here.

Dr Lee explained that testing the community continues to help with the containment of the virus and will alert them to any potential outbreaks before they happen. “The risk in Cayman is low,” Dr Lee said. “But it is not zero,” he warned, as he urged people, especially if they get cold- or flu-like symptoms to call the hotline and get tested.

See Saturday’s COVID-19 press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Education, Health, Local News, Medical Health

Comments (80)

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  1. Political Covid 2020 says:

    You know something ain’t right when the education minister has to get involved?? Now you should begin to worry! Cayman .Stop this foolishness being perpetrated by the Government Travel Cayman run by Cayman Airways get real! you are asking for trouble not to mention corruption and political favoritism and nepotism will run rife.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anybody going to mention the various charges against Dwayne Seymour today?

    CNS: The Dwayne Seymour who has been charged is not the Dwayne Seymour who is the health minister, i.e. a different person, same name.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yup. Theyve quarantined over 200 people after being confirmed that the one case in question was a FALSE positive and its just a cold – from their own admission. Time to round up and quarantine people with STDs next.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is wrong with us all? We are letting this happen. 200 people are quarantined for no reason. We are now simply allowing government to take away all our rights, and we do nothing? Extraordinary. There is no basis for this action. we’re essentially allowing our government to imprison 200 people for no justifiable reason.
      And we’re ok with this?

    • Vigilante says:

      It would seem a paranoid knee-jerk reaction without any scientific basis. False positive plus 100’s of negative tests is reason to be grateful, not reason to quarantine! Still, the platitudes of “better safe than sorry” abound from educated and ignorant alike. To me it is more a case of “better paranoid than sensible” which only compounds the fear for those whose only source of news is social media…cue the 900 ppl who got tested the last few days! Time for a more sensible and measured response. To repeat the regular refrain – let’s emulate Bermuda’s protocols that are working to keep the country progressing and working to keep COVID at bay.

  4. Anonymous says:

    CNS, would you ask at the next press conference, what is the treatment, drugs etc being utilized to treat Covid here? Do we have any of the drugs that they are using in the States. There are certain vitamins and supplements that every person on island should be taking to boost their immune system. Are we able to find out what these are and what else we should be doing to build our immune system due to the flu season coming upon us soon?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody would tell you that.

      Check your vitamin D level (it should be in the normal range 40-50 if you sunbathe regularly and have no vitamin D receptor (VDR) mutations). Low vitamin D can also be caused by a parathyroid tumor (check your Ca and PTH if it is low despite spending lots of time under the sun). Don’t supplement with the pill though. Try to get it from the sun, unless you live below 37th parallel.

      Other than that, stop worrying and sanitize your upper respiratory tract with 10% iodine solution diluted to 1/19 ratio after attending “crowded” places.

      They say it is what we afraid of kills us. Perhaps a session or 2 with PTSD therapist would help, but lots of free help is available online.

      • David Williams says:

        Why would no one tell us what therapeutics are being used to treat covid? Vitamins and vitamin D are good but not the total package in treating someone who’s symptomatic with covid. Why did you answer that persons question in such a condescending manner? How rude of you. You must feel so superior right now. Good on you.

        • Anonymous says:

          I have answered 5 of your questions in great details and now I am rude? I don’t work for HSA by the way.
          Nothing is rude in my response. Treatments are individualized. If you ever been hospitalized for any reason you know nobody ever tells you what they’re doing with you and why.

    • Anonymous says:

      Vitamin D(3), Zinc, and Vit C – I have been taking D and have been around many people who were later sick/positive. I have not been tested but I have not been sick either.

      Many friends reported to me that they were treated with large amounts of D while sick.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are protecting yourself properly against Covid then you won’t get flu – any imported flu cases would be quarantined & will not be passed on.

    • Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    If a blind person told the government that they planned to drive a car some time between now and 2 years time, for a few meters down an unnamed road in Cayman, would you be happy for government to close every road for 2 years and ban driving incase you happened to be driving down that very road at that particular time when the blind person decided to?

    of course not. And yet, that’s what is happening with the response to Covid19. We’ve closed down everything to prevent you from getting sick from something that for all intents and purposes you will not get sick from.

    Fear mongering combined with naivety, ego and now legacy building. It’s hard to believe you’ve fallen for it, but you have. As have most of us. BUt it needs to end. This Red Bay debacle has to alert anyone with an ounce of intelligence as to the sheer madness that is happening.

    And to top it all, we’re giving awards to people that have collapsed our economy. Wow.

  6. Smart says:

    Close the Border

  7. David Williams says:

    Another question that needs to be asked of HSA: Do they have a pulmonary specialist overseeing the use of the ventilator on the symptomatic patient? The community needs to know the answer to this question.

    • Anonymous says:

      Respiratory therapists are the people managing the ventilators. They are the only healthcare clinicians didactically and clinically educated and trained in the art and science of mechanical ventilation.

      Ventilators are what makes a respiratory therapist a respiratory therapist. That’s what sets them apart from all other disciplines of medicine – the knowledge of ventilators. Nobody else in medicine is trained on ventilators as deeply and thoroughly as we are.

      It’s up to the respiratory therapist to determine the appropriate settings on the ventilator to effectively keep a person breathing and oxygenated while their body fights the virus.

      There is a vast amount of training that prepares them to be skilled professionals. Respiratory Therapy is a credentialed, licensed healthcare field specializing in care for the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. With that, therapists collaborate closely with physicians and nurses.

      • Anonymous says:

        Certification through the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. (NBRC) not only demonstrates that a respiratory therapist has met minimum licensing requirements, but may also demonstrate advanced-level training and specialized skills in the respiratory therapy profession.

        To date, the NBRC offers the following credentials:
        Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
        Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
        Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist (CRT-NPS or RRT-NPS)
        Sleep Disorders Specialist (CRT-SDS or RRT-SDS)
        Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT)
        Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT)

        The CRT and the RRT credentials are considered to be the standards for licensure.

        The Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential is the NBRC’s entry-level credential that has become a standard for state licensure.

        The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential is the advanced credential.

        • David Williams says:

          Perhaps I didn’t ask the question properly. If they’re on a ventilator, there must be some type of lung involved issues. Who is overseeing the patients lung function?

          Does HSA have a pulmonary specialist working at the hospital?

          • Anonymous says:

            • Does HSA have a pulmonary specialist working at the hospital?

            You can email or call them directly. They might have recruited one or two. Ask is it CRT or RRT.

            • How are patients on ventilators monitored?
            Most patients on a ventilator are monitored in an ICU.
            Anyone on a ventilator in an ICU setting will be hooked up to a monitor that measures heart rate, respiratory rate,
            blood pressure, and oxygen saturation (“O2 sats”). Other tests that may be done include chest-x-rays and blood drawn
            to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide (“blood gases”).
            Members of the health care team (including doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists) will use this information to assess the
            patient’s status and make adjustments to the ventilator if necessary.

            • How long is a ventilator used?
            A ventilator can be life saving, but its use has risks (Infections, Collapsed lung (pneumothorax), Lung damage, Side effects of medications,Inability to discontinue ventilator support). It doesn’t fix the problem that led to the person needing the
            ventilator in the first place; it just helps support a person until other treatments become effective, or the person gets better on their own.

            One treatment option that is showing promise is the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory distress. By supporting the heart and lungs, the ECMO machine stabilizes patients to allow their body more time to fight the virus.

            Conventional treatment is by intermittent positive-pressure ventilation where oxygen-enriched air is blown into the lungs at high pressure. This in turn causes oxygen toxicity and pressure injury to the lung tissue delaying or preventing recovery.
            ECMO is an alternative which uses heart-lung bypass technology to provide gas exchange outside the body. This allows time for the lung treatment and recovery.

            • Anonymous says:

              We already know there’s not a pulmonary specialist working at HSA. Just like there’s no endocrinologist, neurosurgeon, or rheumatologist working there either. All you can comment about is ventilators and respiratory therapists, how about you give some info about what therapeutics are being used to treat covid. Most people know that ventilators are the last choice in treating covid not the first choice. It’s quite obvious that if you were in control of your own medical treatment in Cayman, you wouldn’t pick HSA as the place to save your life.

            • David Williams says:

              Ventilators are only used as a last choice to treat covid. Therapeutics are the first choice. You continue to spew info regarding ventilators and respiratory therapists as if ventilators are the premier choice for treatment of covid. How about you give some real info as to what therapeutics are being used and whether they’re first choice or not. Most people know there isn’t a pulmonary specialist working at HSA. Just like there’s no endocrinologist, neurosurgeon, or rheumatologist working there either.

            • Anonymous says:

              I believe Health City has ECMO machine.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another question needs to be asked of HSA: Do they have a pulmonary specialist overseeing the use of the ventilator on the symptomatic patient?

  9. David Williams says:

    The one symptomatic patient is on a ventilator? Science and the medical community have shown that therapeutics on the 3rd day from the first fever is your best chance of surviving this virus. The rest of the world are using these therapeutics as a first choice as ventilators are mostly being used when a patient walks into the ER unable to breathe. This is when the virus is most advanced in your body. HSA has been in control of this patient from day one. Have they used any therapeutics on this patient? Are they depending solely on a ventilator and paracetamol to help the patient get through the virus?

    As a community, you need to know how they are treating the virus and not just the patients condition. Has anyone in HSA told the community what the protocol is for treating covid? I would be demanding answers on what therapeutics are being used and what the protocol is in using these therapeutics. Your lives may depend on having this knowledge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ventilators are a last resort, different hospitals have different protocols. Research is slowly coming out on therapeutics, (vitamin d, quercetin, zinc, melatonin, nac(speculation). As of now, i’m assuming we are just adopting the same protocol from the UK.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you had covid, would you prefer the latest technology in therapeutics to save your life or a ventilator? Research on therapeutics is coming out slowly? It’s been out since April!

      • David Williams says:

        Research is coming out slowly? Research has been out since March. If you actually had control over your medical care, would you trust HSA to save your life on a ventilator?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the OBE Dr Lee very well deserved.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no British Empire, this is a relic of the empire and slavery, the right thing to do is return or refuse it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bullshit scare tactic in response to people breaking quarantine.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is how government works. It has to justify its actions. Fear was placed amongst us to shut down the island. To justify this stance, they cannot appear to be failing now. So you’re going to hear positives turn negative and if still positive, it’s a mild case, etc,

  13. Anonymous says:

    Local doctors using ventilators as last resort.

    “..Doctors Hospital is using ventilators less frequently too. Dr. Rafael Deliz, pulmonologist and ICU medical director at the hospital, said they are now working with alternate methods that avoid intubation for COVID-19 patients, such as high-flow oxygen technology and prone positioning. …. Longterm use of the ventilator can be detrimental and causes damage to the lung tissue, he said. There is another option for patients with low oxygen levels called high-pressure oxygen therapy that doesn’t involve intubation and therefore isn’t traumatic for their lungs. However, this treatment requires a special machine…. but they’re scarce, Treviño said.”

  14. Anonymous says:

    This $#%@don’t look or sound right at all Cayman? Stop these travelers and friends from breaching quarantine rules and this foolishness would not be happening. Increase the penalties for violators substantially !

  15. 20K says:

    This government needs to more truthful about who exactly is breaching Covid 19 rules on this island and since they now claim it’s not at the school please tell us about those persons who have recently found to be inter acting with travelers arriving here , who are supposed to be in quarantine. They are not abiding by the rules in the UK what makes us think they are going to do it here?? The government now needs to impose stiffer fines on violators !

    • Anonymous says:

      All positive people need to be in a government facility and all people waiting for their results. They all need to be locked up to keep the community safe.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great picture of the CMO. No need worry.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The kool-aid is great. Everything is under control. There’s more to this virus than we have had time to experience. The science will tell us eventually.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hysterical response to a false positive result…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Example of a test:
    Covid N1 – ct > 40 Positive =40
    NTC – ct > 40 Valid >=40, invalid <40
    Human RP – ct 29 Valid =40
    Positive Control ct 34 Valid =40

    Question. Does the above mean to achieve a negative test result one has to be >=40 and to be Positive one has to have a test result < 40? We've twice heard Dr. Lee speak of a weak positive. What is a weak positive? 39?, What is a strong positive? Does one have covid or not?

  20. Anonymous says:

    All the efforts to hide from this Virus. Then It shows it head and bam, we right back where we started.
    Now again we know, the Virus is imported in this cases.

    What have we been doing for treatment?
    Do we continue with the hide and wait for vaccine approach?

    Even if we all take a vaccine to be safe, there is no rush for Cayman to open up the borders completely until there is a sure treatment for this virus.
    Vaccine should not have to be mandated but a choice.
    Treatment should be a sure thing by now. Can’t hide forever.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Credit and thanks to the lab staff for pulling an all-nighter to process the samples. The news has relieved a lot of people.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The response from the civil service and HSA to this incident is simply world class. We are a model for the world.

    Cayman is the envy of the world. We are blessed to live in a beautiful island with the best run Government in the world.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Clearly a false positive as are 96%.

    • Wsde says:

      False positives are about 0.4%. Go away and watch more Fox News or read about Q on Facebook.

      • Anonymous says:

        Are all test kits equal?

      • Anonymous says:

        Read some world news…UK, Australia, Germany etc and learn a little please. And stop assuming anyone who has a different opinion from your limited knowledge is getting information from any of the BS US sites youve mentioned.

  24. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly why students should be wearing masks at school. The bubbles/cohorts by year is a good plan and should continue but adding masks back in would be another layer of protection.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bubbles are a good plan but are the schools operating in bubbles all of the time? What about school assemblies?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t know if they’re good about their bubbles but it’s a very easy thing to do. School assemblies aren’t “necessary” and can easily be avoided for the time being. Keeping year groups separate is the best plan to avoid a school-wide exposure when someone tests positive.

  25. Anonymous says:

    So far so good !

  26. Anonymous says:


  27. Anonymous says:

    Not sure how they can make such a bold statement given all 200+ are still in incubation period and been roaming around happily since 2 October until 9 October.

    • KY 1 says:

      Parents and sibling are negative and incubation period can be up to 14 days but usually test positive within 5 days. Viral load is tiny and we are at day 8. Things are looking good. Just need to keep visitors away from those in home quarantine now. Geofencing cannot prevent someone in the community from visiting someone at home quarantining. That and the reprobates than breach quarantine are the most significant risks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the child had it prior to Friday… last week.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since when do facts matter? Student’s test returned a “weak positive”. Student has symptoms of a respiratory infection, so we feel that we have to report the result as positive. One scenario may be that the family has a common cold. Instead of asking questions, people are driving with masks again. What is a weak positive? On the test, one is positive if one has a score of 40 or higher. What number was the student on the first and second tests? Are positive and negative reports based on how the Dr. feels? Do the doctors not know if the family has a common cold? If not, what use are they?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because statistics would also indicate that of those tests, it would be likely that another positive result would have been detected, particularly after 7 days with a typical 5-day incubation period. Not impossible that what you worry about could have taken place, but no longer nearly as likely with those test results.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly! It’s all a bit confusing to me. They would all be negative results during this time and not everyone would be exposed on the 2 October. I’m glad they will be isolating and I hope they all come back with negative results and remain healthy. It did teach me how easy it is to let your guard down. This was a bit of a wake up call for me, even though I watch the news and know how bad things are around us.

    • Anonymous says:

      When an incubation period starts and ends has nothing to do with when a person may have the contracted the virus. Those who tested negative are likely to remain so.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last exposure to the child was a week ago aparantly, given the most effective day after a posable exposer is day 7 for a PCR test ( NOT day 14 ) we can feel quite safe.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. The incubation period for COVID-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus (becoming infected) and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, however can be up to 14 days. During this period, also known as the “pre- symptomatic” period, some infected persons can be contagious. I don’t know what is meant when people dislike the above comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      They should all be in a government facility until we know for sure

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