Pre-tests fail to keep COVID-19 out

| 30/01/2021 | 85 Comments
Governor Martyn Roper receives his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

(CNS): Public health officials have said they are unable to say whether or not the three positive cases of the coronavirus among test results released Friday were incoming travellers or those at the end of their quarantine. However, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has previously said that the majority of positive results are for arriving passengers and not those receiving their 15-day test. This indicates that the pre-testing is not preventing infected individuals from travelling.

Since the Cayman Islands authorities introduced the pre-travel test rule earlier this month in the face of a surge of the more infectious strains of the virus, there has been a steady count of positive cases being reported. Although officials will not confirm whether these are newly arrived passengers or those at the end of quarantine, with the arrival of the British Airways flight Thursday, it is very likely they were new arrivals.

But it is clear that the quarantine and isolation requirement remains the tool that is keeping the community COVID-19 free.

Nevertheless, government is hoping to lift some of the quarantine restrictions by the end of March. The vaccination programme, which is what officials are relying on for a border opening in two months, is still moving at pace, with officials confirming that 7,564 individuals have received a vaccine and 289 of those have now received their second dose.

With around 18% of the adult population vaccinated during the first three weeks, if the pace continues government will meet its target to have 70% of over 18s here vaccinated by the end of March.

Governor Martyn Roper, who received his second dose on Thursday, said he was pleased the vaccine has been met with such enthusiasm by the community.

“We encourage those who are due for their second dose to check the current National Vaccination Campaign schedule to see what days they may visit the COVID Vaccination Clinic, which has been relocated offsite to the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA). Remember that the vaccine is most effective if you receive the two required doses, as one dose will only provide partial protection from the virus,” he added.

The response to the vaccine has been positive but Premier Alden McLaughlin is urging members of the community within the eligible stages to take greater advantage of the availability of the vaccines.

“The Cayman Islands is in a very fortunate position to have these vaccines,” he said. “We have an opportunity that many from other countries can only hope for, and we must come together to do the right thing,” he said as he urged the elderly especially to get vaccinated. “It is for our own good, for the protection of our people and continuation of our economy.”

The Health Services Authority (HSA) and the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) have partnered to improve the process of delivering the COVID-19 vaccination, officials said, and so far reports from those using the airport have been positive.

“Having administered over 7,000 doses of this vaccine, we are confident that the vaccines can be delivered in a non-clinical setting, as is done elsewhere in North America and Europe, provided there are equipment and supplies to address an emergency should one arise,” said HSA Chief Nursing Officer and Acting CEO Dr Hazel Brown. “The airport terminal with its large space and ample parking improves the efficiency of the vaccine delivery, reducing wait time and expediting the overall process.”

After the vaccine is administered, people are asked to sit in a rest area for 15 minutes before leaving the venue. This allows time to see, in the rare event, if there are any immediate side effects. Should any vaccine recipient experience a serious side-effect, medical staff are on-site to administer care.

The UK sent a further 9,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on the British Airways flight that arrived on 28 January, enabling the HSA to move onto the nest stage next week.

Meanwhile, the three asymptomatic positive travellers confirmed Friday bring the current tally of positive cases recorded in Cayman to 390. Of those there are now 31 active cases and six people are suffering symptoms of the virus. There are 993 people in quarantine and isolation.

Anyone with travel questions should contact the Travel Cayman team via email TravelCayman@gov.ky
or call 1-345-945-0556 / 1-345-946-7858
Phone lines are open Monday through Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Breach Tips Hotline: 943-7233 (943 SAFE)

HSA Flu Hotline: 1-800-534-8600 or 925-6327 or flu@hsa.ky

See the consent form and the Vaccination Plan Brochure in the CNS Library here.

For more details on the vaccination programme and the vaccination schedule, visit the HSA website here. And for testing to accommodate new international requirements, see here.

For more information on COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, visit the CIG site here.


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Comments (85)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Beyond angry. Government hasn’t provided stimulus cheques and border will continue to be lockdown for months. NEED ANOTHER PENSION WITHDRAWAL! PLEASE

  2. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to know if any preflight tests are coming back positive or if testing sites are being selected that only produce negative results.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Is there any data available to show how many positives are turning up that cause people to defer their flights?

  3. Anonymous says:

    From CNN today – one explanation for the ongoing high number of positives on arrival:

    Criminals are selling forged Covid-negative test certificates as an increasing number of countries require travelers to provide proof of such results, European law enforcement agency Europol warned Monday.

    Several cases of fake documents being sold have already been identified, the agency says in an “Early Warning Notice” issued to European police forces.

    This includes the “arrest of a forgery ring at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris selling forged negative test results to passengers,” who were charging between $180 to $360 for fake certificates, Europol said

    In the United Kingdom, Europol intelligence found, “fraudsters were caught selling bogus COVID-19 test documents for $135, faking the name of a genuine laboratory on the false certificates.”

    Criminals are also using online platforms to sell fake certificates, Europol warns, including in Spain where a “fraudster was apprehended by the Spanish National Police for selling false negative PCR certificates,” for $50 each.

    In the Netherlands, “scammers were discovered selling fake negative test statements for $60-72 through messaging apps.”

    A genuine “fit-to-fly” PCR certificate in the UK costs upwards of $273, CNN research found.

    In the Warning Notice Europol said:

    “As long as travel restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 situation, it is highly likely that production and sales of fake test certificates will prevail.”
    “Given the widespread technological means available, in the form of high-quality printers and different software, fraudsters are able to produce high-quality counterfeit, forged or fake documents,” the agency said.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the saying goes ‘hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebra’s’. Maybe if it was one case per flight, but suggesting that we have multiple cases of bogus forged documents per flight is leaning a little towards zebra’s…I am going to make a guess that’s not based on anything I can verify, but, pre-tests might be run on less cycles of amplifying the sample vs our rather robust testing. There is evidence that if you have to run the sample a lot to get a positive, then the patient is unlikely to be infectious, even with a positive result. So negative pre-flight run 30 times gets a negative, on arrival gets run 35 times and gets a positive.

      • Anonymous says:

        Could also be pre-flight run 5 times rather than 30 for any number of reasons so therefore negative. Hopefully somebody is taking a second and third looks at all of the pre-flight negatives that were positive on arrival looking for a pattern or any additional steps to keep Cayman safe.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is exactly why Cayman is getting positives on Day 15 tests and most likely why some pre-tests are coming up positives! Dr. Lee and crew are over-amplifying and some of those “positives” are the basic cold virus.

        Also, their rate of “asymptomatic positives” is very high. Either Covid is actually a non-issue for most people or there are lots of false positives due to over-amplifying. Most people elsewhere tend to have at least mild symptoms but in Cayman…..almost all “asymptomatic”.

      • Anonymous says:

        When there was that positive case at Prospect Primary, Dr. Lee alluded to the fact it could have been false positive, and was only detected. due to the vast number of cycles they run each test through. I tend to agree with him since no one in the student’s house, class, or school caught it.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many people getting a $2000 flight to the most expensive place on the planet do you think are really going to chance a 100quid fake test when you can easily get a real one for 200? Especially when you know you’re going to get tested on arrival, which will raise questions if positive and spend 2 weeks in quarantine no matter what. Seems pretty unlikely to me that someone would do that AND also turn out to be one of the one or two positives on arrival.

      • Anonymous says:

        The ones that don’t care if they infect others and don’t mind a beach holiday for 2 weeks if they are detected.

    • Shawn says:

      Let’s keep in mind these tests were not developed to test weather or not a person has the virus they only show if there r some DNA fragments of a number of viruses , so lots of false positives and false negatives basically bs

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the thought of flying on a Max-8 will stop some of the frivolous shopping/partying trips to Miami that add to the risks we face.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t TRUST government statistics, they just liars…. post what they want and we must believe it….NOT ME.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know who all these people flying into cayman are? By now everyone with a legitimate reason to be here should already be here. Are these travelers vacationers or residents returning from vacation? The time has come to allow residents to leave only for legitimate reasons (medical and educational) so that even fewer people have reason to travel here and try to prevent the introduction of the virus which is very likely to escape quarantine in the near future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its not a prison island and there is a world out there that is safe to travel!

      • Anonymous says:

        9:27 Safe where?

        • Anonymous says:

          Numerous family members have been safely traveling since last July(no quarantines):

          Miami-Turkey-Latvia (returning home from visiting family for 6 months)
          Latvia-Turkey-Latvia (vacation)
          Latvia-Egypt-Latvia (vacation)
          Barcelona-Miami (visiting family)

          Ages: 35, 33, 68, 78, 75, 4

          CNS: The fact that some countries had lax travel restriction during the pandemic does not mean it was a good idea. Even if no one in your family got sick, they could have been spreading it if they weren’t quarantining, whatever their age.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you CNS – There are a lot of people out there that do not understand that not dying while doing something dangerous does not prove that the dangerous thing was not inherently dangerous – in this case to the traveler and to others.

          • Anonymous says:

            Everyone I know over 70 already has one or both sticks. We’re ready to fly anywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      No thanks. Who are you to define “legitimate”? How is a kid going to go sit in a house in a University town to do lectures by zoom any more legitimate than a resident or Caymanian visiting elderly relatives abroad? Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes legitimate.

      • Anonymous says:

        If students could get the the vaccine before going back it would be great.
        Any one studying one of the medical disciplines has to be back at Uni in the UK but cant het the vaccine here.

        • Anonymous says:

          For the umpteenth time, the vaccine does not stop you getting or transmitting the disease. Its only if the vast majority of the population are vaccinated that it becomes safer to relax quarantine and travel restrictions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone here know about ring theory??

  8. Anonymous says:

    Need more pension withdrawal if we’re not getting government stimulus cheques like every other country!

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm, or you could get a job in construction, or financial services, or education, or government…

    • Anonymous says:

      “Every other country”. Ok. 😂 Even in the countries that ARE doing stimulus cheques, not everyone gets one and they’re having to be repaid in future taxes. It’s not just free money flying around.

    • Anonymous says:

      We need more pension withdrawal as the current oligopoly is simply skimming money out of every working persons pocket, not actually building savings and providing for the future. Need to be able to pull it out and invest it somewhere it actually makes a return.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is some truth to that. I see no reason we should be forced to pay these pension providers to “invest” our money in index funds and cash; however if you really know how to invest your own money for long term growth then you must surely also understand that most people do not have a clue and allowing further pension withdrawls today is saving up even bigger problems for tomorrow.

        • Anonymous says:

          But it would be nice if we had the option to invest it in a bigger and more reliable pension company – right now the options are limited.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:15 or you could go and find a job….shocker I know, but there are those available out there. Just have to get off the couch, apply, be willing to learn new skills, and boom – money.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of sh..t! Don’t know if:

    “the three positive cases of the coronavirus among test results released Friday were incoming travellers or those at the end of their quarantine.”

    Excuse me, JUST READ THE DATA SHEETS. Ah Duh!

    “Gee, these came from yesterday’s arrivals…”
    “These came from 13 days ago…”

    “I cant decide – mushroom or pepperoni…”

    The CIG at it’s finest. We are doomed.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully someone is checking to see whether the people who test positive on arrival have anything in common, like using the same testing defective testing facility. There has to be some explanation as to why we have the same rate of positives on arrival as we did before pretesting was started.

    • Anonymous says:

      Infections are increasing around the world. That is why.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suspect it’s because there are far more infected people in the UK population now so despite preflight testing removing some proportion of them (but not those who are infected but not yet testing positive) there are still a similar number arriving here and testing positive. It’s a sensible precaution that helps but it’s not a guarantee.

    • Shawn says:

      Yes because there is no reliable test for this virus

    • Anonymous says:

      A negative test is just for that point in time. If they didn’t isolate themselves after the test, then they could have gotten Covid anywhere.

  11. Anonymous says:

    .The vaccination program is not for us Cayman it’s for them and arm with the scientific data about this Covid 19 virus they are still playing games and deliberately putting our lives in grave danger. Their special category of visitors can still spread and infect us ! So vaccine & so call pre test doesn’t mean diddley squat!

    • Anonymous says:

      Paranoid somewhat? I think we are starting to see the mental stress of a year of Covid/lockdown showing it’s colours

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      That doesn’t mean both shouldn’t be performed. We are employing cumulative measures to keep us safe, which have worked so far, in spite of some people breaching quarantine.

    • Anonymous says:

      The majority of people flying in here are Caymanians/residents. What is your problem?

      • Anonymous says:

        Why are some, with no medical need, being allowed to come and go at will? There are people who have quarantined (at our expense) 3 or more times. Essential travel only? Really?

        • Anonymous says:

          If they’d make people pay for their own quarantine when travel is not for medical/educational purposes, it would cut down on people traveling back and forth.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because its not a prison? Where would you draw the line? Wont allow people to travel for business, even though business finances the country? Wont allow someone to visit ill relatives? Wont allow people to pursue an education overseas? Just because YOU don’t need or want to travel does not mean its fair or necessary to lock up everyone else, provided that you are protected against the consequences – which is what the quarantine regime does. Its a fair point who pays for it though.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have travelled. I had to. And I paid for my own quarantine (by choice). What is galling is that through taxes I am paying for the repeated quarantining people who had no need to travel!

    • Anonymous says:

      Go get your vaccine and a xanax chaser.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this post available in anything other than gibberish?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Who said PCR negative test could be the solution of your problems?
    Mr. Health Minister? Ok… makes total sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one said it would prevent covid arriving here. Those testing negative at the airport on arrival can still test positive after 14 days. That’s why people have had to stay longer in quarantine.

      But what pretesting is doing is preventing people with active covid from coming here in the first place. They wont be able to get on a plane so do not even apply.

      However, they may be infected but not detectable three days before but may be detected on arrival.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was never claimed to be a solution. It’s just another layer of protection. It helps eliminate some of the positives before they set foot on the plane.

  13. 56 says:

    How many of those 7564 vaccinated so far are non residents? Non residents are extending their stays to obtain they can obtain the second vaccine and will then leave island. Please can you provide the figure for residents of the islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      where is your caymankind bobo?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman kind with the free vaccine.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what? I know a few elderly non residents who got their shot. They are UK tax payers they paid for it. Seems perfectly fair they should travel home in some safety. Cayman was already in the UK press last week for having received 10000 doses, if it got out you were refusing to give any to elderly UK nationals then you’re going to have a real problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        6:38 So what? Our community should be a priority not foreigners who are coming in here.

        • Anonymous says:

          So what? The posters point was that if you lose UK goodwill on this, you get no vaccine at all. That’s a pretty big so what. Once Cayman sources its own vaccines you can get precious about the respective priorities of a local, especially not the elderly, over an elderly national from the very country that supplied the vaccine. What would you say to the UK national who said that THEIR elderly should be a priority?

        • Anonymous says:

          Good job the British government don’t share your small minded view that THEIR community should be a priority over us “foreigners”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t blame them. They are welcome to mine. I can wait.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Which means they are most likely getting it in the airplane or the airport!

    • Anonymous says:

      There are 72 hours of possible exposure after the negative test. Amazing that there are still some that would head off to the pub to celebrate. People would probably be a lot more careful if they stood to be refused boarding on a positive airport screening at embarkation point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes that’s the most likely scenario, they avoided it for a number of weeks whilst in Miami, or the UK, then deliberately got infected the day after getting tested…sheesh.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are also approximately 14 days of possible exposure BEFORE testing negative! A traveller could get infected on day 1, test negative on day 10, fly here on day 12 and test positive. Or test negative on day 1, get exposed on day 2, fly day 3, test negative day 3, test positive at the end of quarantine. So many legitimate possibilities to what we are seeing and why CIG are absolutely right to continue pre-flight testing and quarantine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or the overseas tests are not accurate.

  15. Anonymous says:

    They shouldnt eliminate the quarantine requirement (at end of March) until every willing adult is able to get the vaccine. It would be unfair to the 30% who have not yet been eligible to receive the vaccine to be put at risk for the sake of a few hundred visitors a week.

    (BTW, incredibly self-serving for the governor, and others, to jump to the front of the line under the guise of demonstrating a willing to receive the vaccine. Yeah right…like we were all hesitating to receive the vaccine until we saw the governor get it. Ridiculous. Even the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said he is unwilling to jump the line and will wait until it is his turn)

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Agree with the first paragraph. If CIG wants people to take the vax, it seems important to those at the top to step up and take the jab, so we can watch them and see if all goes well.

      • Anonymous says:

        There have been 98.3mln doses administered globally, and almost 10,000 in Cayman. That should the confirmation sample group.

      • Anonymous says:

        Likewise they should be the ones taking the first flight on CAL’s 737 Max 8s to prove they are safe but I bet they won’t be doing that.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m ready! Got my vax, just let me fly something other than CA so I can make a normal connection.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is the government really going to count visitors who got the vaccine as part of the population percentage? If so, just as reliable as all the other numbers they give us.

  17. Anonymous says:

    When the government says they have vaccinated 70% of the adult population they need to publish the number of actual residents that have had the vaccine and not include all the visitors that have been vaccinated. I know many visitors that have received the vaccine and will be leaving before the borders are even opened. Many elderly Caymanians are worried about taking the vaccine. Instead of just giving it to anyone that would take it public meetings should have been held to reassure those that are afraid. Instead they have been injecting people that are only going to be here for 2 months to bump up the numbers !

    • Anonymous says:

      If our goal is to protect the population then the reality is that everyone here needs to be vaccinated. Granny stands the same chance of contracting Covid from the tourist standing in front of her at the grocery store, as she does from her niece standing behind her. Everyone here that wants it needs to be able to access it for the overriding public health intention to have any prospect of working.

      • Anonymous says:

        why? If the vaccine does not protect you from getting the virus?
        so is the flu!
        get over it!

      • Anonymous says:

        That sounds reasonable, until you understand that the vaccine doesn’t stop you catching or transmitting the virus, just makes it less likely to harm you. So in your scenario the only way to protect granny is vaccinate HER -which you cant do if you gave her dose to the tourist.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is what people aren’t hearing/realizing!!!! People in Cayman think they’re immune to catching it or spreading it once two jabs are into the body. Wrong!

          The vaccines’ efficacy rates are for preventing moderate/severe illness NOT preventing from catching it.

    • Anonymous says:

      70% is no longer a relevant number. That was calculated based on the original R0. Now that there have been more mutations and more virulent higher R0 virus is in circulation, a number closer to 90% will likely be required.

      In any event, since it seems the vaccine does not prevent contraction and spread of Covid, but rather significantly lessens the negative effects, even with most people vaccinated we will be facing social distancing and masks the moment we relax Border controls.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Thanks, but no thanks – no supper for me…<> hey, dog ate my supper!”

    • Anonymous says:

      If it is true that elderly Caymanians are worried about taking it that is hardly the fault of elderly visitors. In fact unless you want visitors to stay indefinitely they arguably have a greater need if we are to let them travel home in some safety. It’s also worth saying that in the case of British and American tax payers, they’ve paid for the development, purchase and gift of the very vaccines some people seem unwilling to let them take here!

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