Outbreak of COVID-19 closes Pines old folks home

| 21/11/2021 | 117 Comments
Cayman News Service
The Pines Retirement Home

(CNS): Ten residents and one member of staff at the Pines Retirement Home in George Town have tested positive for COVID-19 and the home is now closed to visitors as officials work to contain the outbreak. Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said Public Health was assisting to ensure the health and safety of both residents and staff and the social development ministry has sent 1,000 lateral flow tests to the home to help in manage the outbreak. CNS has also confirmed that as of Sunday morning none of the residents have been admitted to hospital and are being cared for at the home and coping well.

“Fortunately, the cases discovered through routine testing at the Pines Retirement Home have been identified at an early stage, and Public Health will work with the Home and its nursing staff, the Health Services Authority, and other medical practitioners if required, to apply global best practices in mitigating further spread of the virus,” said Dr Williams-Rodriguez said in a release about the outbreak this weekend. “The Cayman Islands is fortunate to have the world’s best technology and medicine available to proactively treat these or other COVID-19 patients.”

Six of the residents who tested positive were not vaccinated, and Dr Williams-Rodriguez noted that the vaccine is still the best defense against COVID-19. “A significant proportion of our elderly are vaccinated and they should avail of a booster vaccine if they have not already,” he added.

The Pines will now be using the rapid tests to manage the outbreak along with the usual protocols being deployed in all local residential care homes in Cayman, given the vulnerability of these institutions to outbreaks and spread of the virus.

The Pines CEO Lynda Mitchell said lateral flow testing regimes are based on robust evidence and have been used successfully in other countries, including the United Kingdom.

“Both residents and staff will adopt a more rigorous testing regime, in addition to following other procedures and protocols based on advice from the chief medical officer, Public Health, and the Health Services Authority. Currently we have taken the precautionary measure of preventing any visitors until further notice,” she said.

Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, the director of the Department of Children and Families Services, said all residential care homes under the management of DCFS in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac were provided with lateral flow tests in October because, alongside the vaccine, they will help the department contain outbreaks in its homes.

“Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread vaccination has provided our crucial first line of defence and offers vital protection for our whole community. Given the reality of community spread of COVID-19, the next line of defence is the proactive use of lateral flow tests,” she said.

“In combination with other protocols and procedures, the use of a lateral flow testing regime in Cayman’s residential care homes will aid us greatly in preventing outbreaks and protecting those who are most susceptible to the deadly virus. We are entrusted with the care of residents of the Cayman Islands’ care homes, including the elderly, disabled and those with special needs.

“As such, we must do all we can to prevent a repeat of the tragic scenes of 2020 when COVID-19 ran uncontrollably through residential care homes around the world,” she added.

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Category: Health, Medical

Comments (117)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is sad. I see a lot of people commenting that the board should only have vaccinated people visit. I believe this is the reason why COVID is spreading like wild fire. Vaccinated people can spread the COVID just as well as the unvaccinated!

    • Anonymous says:

      Vaccinated AND tested before allowed to enter the Pines.

      You conveniently ignored the second part in your smear post.

      But then again, that’s to be expected judging by your approach.

    • Anonymous says:

      The “board” who comprise this mythical group anyway?

      Must be all civil servants “dragging their feet” and hiding behind each other shirking responsibility but collecting big salaries.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Few of a the residents are in fact “beloved family members”. A number have indeed simply been dropped at the door and abandoned.

  3. Anon says:

    Best wishes to all the vaccinated residents.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      …… and screw the rest, because you think they deserve to get sick or die.

      Your turn will come someday. Will there be someone to advocate for you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Kinda do.

      • Hubert says:

        Big Beau, When you completely reject your doctors and medical advice you deserve to get sick or die.

        For example, somebody who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day while being told by doctors that they will eventually get lung cancer deserves the consequences of their actions. The doctors advocated for you but you did nothing.

        Remember, Big Beau, God helps those who help themselves.

  4. Anonymous says:

    2 measure simple steps will protect the cayman health service:
    mandate vaccines for all civil servants and front line works(caymanians included)
    bring in vax passport system for social activities. unvaxxed must be rpotected and this will protect our health service.

    can someone please explain why these are not even being considered???

  5. Anonymous says:

    Somewhere between vaccinations and lateral flow tests, one should hope there would be more rigorous staff/visitor controls and entry testing plus health regulation compliant masking, sanitation, and legitimate distancing efforts. We all have to be very concerned for those 6 unvaccinated right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you would hope. In most countries trying to control the spread of covid it would have been mandated by the government.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair to the Pines, they do exist on little more than charity affording them limited staffing resources to meet ideal standards.
      Also visitors could be bringing covid in as well.
      Hoping for the best for them, with a little understanding from us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are the members of the Board of Directors of the Pines?

      Who appoints/elects this Board or it it purely filled through volunteering?

      I readily see photos of the 3 managing ladies on the Pines website.

  6. C'Mon Now! says:

    Unbelievably the Pine headline has just disappeared from the Compass webpage. I saw it earlier but now at 8am it is gone.

    I hope this is just temporary… as this is kind of a big deal.

    Praying the cases are not too bad there. But this has been bad in the rest of the world whenever the virus gets into a long-term care home.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:01, The UK, USA and Canada all know this but here in the Cayman Islands we still don’t get it with no requirement that health care workers and CIG employees be fully vaccinated.

      We really are not very bright as a people. That is the sad reality I have concluded.

      I no longer have any patience with Caymanians who make all our lives hell because they refuse to get vaccinated. Now we are going to make the lives of tourists hell too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This local anti- vaccination culture is a legacy of myths and beliefs about what is perceived as witch doctor medicine, and the fear of anything which has not been practiced as part of local “ bush medicine ” for several hundred years. Many traditional medical treatments using natural plant remedies do work but not with something like COVID-19, but the fear of trying something of which their great, great, grandmother had never even heard is immediately to be shunned. You cannot bring communities up to speed with seriously modern medicine in barely two generations.

  8. Anonymous says:

    When would the govt. consider putting any kind of restrictions at all? What are they waiting for? Most people wanted Cayman to follow Bermuda and Turks & Caicos for re-opening – just look at the number of deaths there. Is that what this govt. wishes to follow? Remember, expats are mandatorily vaccinated in Cayman, so it is the Caymanians who are at stake!

    • Anonymous says:

      Expats working for government are magically exempt. There are more than a thousand of them (not counting their dependents).

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but the majority of expats working for government are vaccinated because they want to travel off island, so they have no choice and they know their work permits will expire.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ummm, expats working for government do not have work permits. Nor do they need to be vaccinated to travel.

          • Anonymous says:

            If anyone wants to travel to the USA, Canada, UK or Europe they MUST be vaccinated.

            Where have you been the past 6 months?

            Time to get out of your bubble civil servant.

    • Anonymous says:


      Permanent Residents are also mandatorily vaccinated?

  9. Anonymous says:

    They should have closed to visitors as soon as there was community transmission. The Kirkconnell Rest Home in Cayman Brac did that.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Pines closed to all visitors last summer. Only next of kin with a PCR were allowed to visit and the max 1-1 visit time was 30 minutes with mask.

      However, the same families that REFUSED to vaccinate their loved ones should be so ashamed right now?

    • Anonymous says:

      They were closed to visitors. Only next of kin with PCR allowed for 30 min masked visits.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, somebody took it in there. Maybe, they should’ve done zoom meetings with relatives or Whatsapp video or by the window.

  10. Anonymous says:

    May God help us to save our senior citizen in Pines.
    Whenever I see some comment of vaccination should not be imposed I agree and sympathise with them. But I get annoyed and angry when they say they are free to go to public places without restrictions and act as supersoreaders. May God help them to think wisely.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Damn pesky tourists

    • Anonymous says:

      So true!

      Soon the roads, beaches, dive sites, restaurants, clubs etc will be clogged-up again.

      With minimal benefit to the local economy and maximum benefit to a few.

  12. Elvis says:

    Dont sorry they say they are ready .

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is a result of poor policy making by the Government. Frontline workers and all hospital/ care home workers should be vaccinated regardless of nationality. These outbreaks are a result of policy designed around political agendas instead of sound public health science.

    Watch as countries such as Austria and Germany mandate everyone to be vaccinated. They are experiencing their 4th wave and we should look at them to realize what lies ahead. Cayman is just starting on its first wave of infections and if we had any sense we would use the strategies these other countries are using to ensure we don’t have to go through what they have experienced.

    • N says:

      I absolutely agree! And I’m a Caymanian Civil Servant who got vaccinated as soon as it was available. I couldn’t believe it when CIG announced they would not make it mandatory for all civil servants, and especially also not make it mandatory for front line workers! Really?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Astonishing that the vaccine is not compulsory for all health workers, civil servants. Front line workers and visitors to an old people’s home. Pure negligence to appease the minority here who can vote.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Happy reopening everyone !

    • Anonymous says:

      How is this linked to the border reopening? Silly comment

      • Anonymous says:

        The prospect of the border reopening is the fundamental reason we have been letting Covid spread. This, and the inevitable deaths that are shortly to follow, are directly related to the border reopening.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Cayman Islands is joining the frontlines of expedited international variant discovery! Our globetrotting elite can now effortlessly go out and find the most exotic new strains in real time and bring them back here, long before they are sequenced in the lab. Don’t worry, their QR codes will shield them, or so the policy goes. Epsilon and Zeta, if you’re out there, we are coming for you…

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing to do with opening the borders. Everything to do with community spread and policy that allows a certain demographic not to be vaccinated.

      • Anonymous says:

        Community spread starting a few weeks before 20 November was very convenient for those who wished to disguise the inevitable spread of the virus resulting from dropping quarantine. Also convenient for those advocating living with the virus was the government’s ongoing refusal to take steps to limit community spread prior to 20 November.

    • Anonymous says:

      Put the blame here where it belongs and it is not with reopening!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nothing big to do with the reopening , but don’t let that spoil your rant.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Were all the staff mandatorily vaccinated? Service providers coming in? What frequency of LFT’s were being administered? Were visitors required to test, submit detailed questionnaires, wear PPE, remain masked, use hand sanitizers. Were the residents required and staff required to undertake such measures?

    And how the hell do you get to 10 before you discover there is an issue?

    Just asking because the potential for gross negligence resulting in deaths appears high. Is the cat not already out of the bag Dr. Williams-Rodriguez? How exactly are LFT’s going to “manage” anything within a closed residential community of extremely vulnerable people?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s because only expats are required to protect themselves. Government doesn’t care if their own die.

      • GoJoeB says:

        It’s because Government can not control their own but they can control expats. The ones to blame are the ones who follow no rules. They alone are to blame. Not expats. Not all locals. Not Government. Not the unvaccinated. Not the healthcare workers. Not even Dart.
        The Government can, has been, and will always make rules but they do not enforce them for locals. This is the primary reason for the massive spread on this tiny island.

        • Anonymous says:

          8.50am You do know Jamaicans are expats and they’re the majority of our population as well as the main ones who won’t follow rules.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, it is the families of the (6) unvaccinated patients that are to blame.

    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down.

      • Anonymous says:

        You think we should sit calmly and silently by while others take steps that will result in death?

    • Anonymous says:

      Like most retirement and old age homes, the Pines would be a pivotal stop on the weekly fundraising beat for the kookiest right wing antivax religious actors. Not only do they boast that Moses will shield them from the tempest, but they like to de-mask, sit close, rant loudly, and hold hands. So regular, they’re probably exempt from all of this “extra” scrutiny too.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Unacceptable that so many Caymanian health care workers and Caymanian CIG employees are still unvaccinated after all this time.

    A ticking public health bomb.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, I think it just stopped ticking, and went off. The shrapnel is striking its targets.

    • Anon says:

      And yet they force all expats to take it. Xenophobia right there. How many expats in these positions are unvaccinated and how many Caymanians? Unfortunately Covid affects all it doesn’t discriminate like the CIG.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well that’s Cayman and will be it’s downfall. The chronic xenophobia

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not xenophobia to use the fullest extent of the existing laws and regulations to reduce the Covid risk to the entire population. Requiring that expats working here be vaxed is no more xenophobic than requiring expats to produce a clean police record with their permit application while we can freely employ Caymanian ex convicts if we so desire. We have enough local criminals in our population, no need to import more. Likewise we have a huge Covid infected and Covid susceptible population, so why import more?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s almost like the vaccine isn’t working very well. Must be Dart’s fault. Can’t be the ones not following the rules. Can’t be the ones actually out there right now spreading it around(unless they are unvaccinated). That would be culturally unacceptable. We feel your pain and your great confusion.

    • Anonymous says:

      It comes down to the crappy electoral system here, I believe; introduced by third-rate British civil servants snd swallowed hook line and sinker by our uneducated political and civil service classes. Constituencies are (and always have been) on such a knife-edge that politicians here dare not act in a decisive, statesmanlike way for fear of upsetting someone somewhere who could vote them out at the next election. So they muddle along, trying to make decisions that upset no voters at all (an impossible task) and occasionally hitting out at expats who have no vote and therefore don’t count but whose victimization pleases their constituents or at least doesn’t impact their pockets – see, for example, the outrageous exclusion of domestic staff, who need it most, from statutory pension protection.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really unacceptable. Each to their own.

      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        Yes 6:14, each to their own chronic stupidity. I put it down to the education system here.

    • Truth says:

      But apparently it is acceptable for Caymanian locals (vaccinated and not) to follow no social distance, quarantine, and testing rules after all this time. The real ticking public health bomb that has gone off big time and now changed Cayman from no covid to everyone on this tiny little island will be exposed. There is now no sense in trying to keep it out. Only trying to remain healthy and not be that one out of hundreds that will get sick and possibly die.

  18. Anonymous says:

    How is Sabrina Turner the health minister? Seriously.

    She was literally a nurse for what seems half a year, worked in immigration and then did the typical thing of setting us an immigration consulting business. Not to be rude, but how can she have any with due regard as a health minister? How can she have any idea of whats she is doing?


    Her bio here:

    • Anonymous says:

      She way more qualified than howling at the moon JonJon. Don’t worry about it much, the information she presents is from the advisors that do have legit medical degrees.

      • Anonymous says:

        Way more qualified??? – Have to disagree – there is only 1 level of completely unqualified.

    • Anonymous says:

      She is the Minister of Health and Kenny the Minister of Tourism (could you pick two more unqualified people) because Roy had enough integrity to not sink to the level needed to form a government with them in cabinet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because she held the PACT government to ransom and would have easily turned to the PPM if they offered her an extra pot of gold.

    • Anonymous says:

      A little bit more than John John had…wait, a lot more than he had..

    • Anonymous says:

      12:32 – Because that’s how cayman works. An expat has to be a subject matter expert to get a job, but a Caymanian only has to qualify on paper or just be a member of the posse. 3rd world.

      • Anonymous says:

        Whoever said ministers in any democracy have to have academic and/or practical qualifications or experience in their brief? They don’t in Europe. Like here, they’re just professional politicians who are thrown a ministry to sink or swim with. It’s the cult of the amateur, it’s totally mad and it’s not just found here.

      • Anonymous says:

        That same principle applies in most societies. It seems compounded here due to the small population size.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The vaccine should be mandatory at nursing facilities, prisons, and all first line essential workers (hospital, fire, police, emt). Mandatory!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good Luck with that idea as you will see many walk outs and then what will you do? Look to other countries and see how this has massively backfired.

  20. Anonymous says:

    A scene repeated far too often across the world during this ongoing and evolving pandemic, but, let’s have a festival at the airport and go out to dinner and hit the bars anyway.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely unacceptable that so many seniors at the Pines were unvaccinated.

    This is such negligence and wickedness.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or stupidity. You cannot force it on people. Some genuinely think they’re not going to get it or suffer ill effects.

    • watcher says:

      ……. because they have no right to make their own choices. 🙁

      • Anonymous says:

        Most of them don’t know what day of the week it is.

      • Anonymous says:

        ….just like you can’t make your own decision as to which side of the road you can drive on…..It is mandatory, for society’s sake and safety, you MUST drive on the left-hand side of the road.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well tell THAT to the many Caymanian families that REFUSED to vaccinate their beloved parents in the Nursing Home!!!

      The PINES begged and pleaded for the last year to the families of loved ones to vaccinate and it fell on deaf and dumb ears.

      What? Kick OUT those patients?
      Blame the anti-Vax families for putting the rest at risk.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have to be completely crazy to not get your elderly parents vaccinated. Madness. And also puts other people at risk.

      • Anonymous says:

        And no-one thought to make it a requirement?

        • Anonymous says:

          Government would not pass a law.

          Everyone at The Pines are now at the mercy of the few “next of kin” refusing to vaccinate their elderly, frail, and weak parents in a Nursing Home?

          No amount of hand sanitizer was going to stop this train with 3,654 active cases and 21 in hospital.

          • Anonymous says:

            And let me guess. Those anti-vaccination next of kin were freely allowed to continue visiting?

            Lots of measures could (and should) have been taken to keep COVID out. We’re they?

          • Anonymous says:

            And let me guess. Those anti-vaccination next of kin were freely allowed to continue visiting?

            Lots of measures could (and should) have been taken to keep COVID out. Were they?

      • Mumbichi says:

        “Caymanian families that REFUSED to vaccinate their beloved parents”.

        They aren’t pets, they are people. They can choose for themselves, if they are able. I know it doesn’t fit your narrative of persecution, however there are a great many of the elderly whose doctors have advised them to not take the vaccination, due to them being medically contraindicated. I only know of two such individuals.

      • Anonymous says:

        To blame the Residents of the Pines (or their families) for a low vaccination is absolutely absurd.

        First, for many residents their age/underlying conditions may preclude them from being safely vaccinated.

        Second, these residents are not going anywhere – certainly not to Fosters, BK or KFC.

        Christ, these persons are resident.

        The Board and Management of the Pines should have ensured that the staff and all visitors are fully vaccinated and tested before entry to the facility. Along with the usual masking, social distancing and sanitisation protocols.

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