New weekly COVID report offers old information

| 20/01/2022 | 60 Comments

(CNS): The people of the Cayman Islands will no longer receive timely information about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic here as Public Health officials have switched to weekly reports reflecting figures that are some five days old. The first of these new situation reports was released to the media at around 9:45pm Wednesday night with data from Saturday.

As a result, there is no up-to-date information on how many people tested positive this week at all, despite unconfirmed reports that the number of residents infected on Tuesday was the highest daily figure since the first case of the virus here in March 2020.

Officials have not revealed the number of people currently in hospital with SARS-CoV-2 or the tally of active cases, which is estimated to be well over 4,000 people.

Nevertheless, CNS has continued to ask for up-to-date figures and we are waiting on a response. Meanwhile, the old data released last night is posted in the CNS Library.

More than 5% of the population is believed to be in isolation this week, largely due to the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant, and this is taking a toll on the economy. But the evident inability of Public Health to cope with the overwhelming number of people infected is also detrimental to the community as a whole, extending the isolation periods for many families.

Families with unvaccinated children have been spending as long as three weeks in quarantine because of the delays in getting their first PCR test to start the clock on their official isolation period, then waiting in some cases more than three days to get their negative exit test.

CNS has been inundated this week with messages from readers about their quarantine and testing nightmares. Following the decision by Public Health to cut the isolation time by three days, which was announced yesterday, more than 700 people attended the drive-through exit testing clinic at Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

While that change in isolation days may reduce the time slightly, people testing positive still have problems getting a confirmation PCR test, and the introduction of district lunchtime clinics does not appear to have made much of an impact.

Reports of single parents struggling to get to testing centres because they don’t have transport or taking sick kids to queue in the hot sun are causing further despair over the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 on this community and the confusion surrounding testing and isolation rules.

Furthermore, CNS has heard numerous concerns from the public that health officials are constantly giving out conflicting information, and that navigating the entire system is compounding the multiple problems they are experiencing as a result of catching the virus.

The official position from the weekly report is that there were around 19 people in the hospital last week. But as of Monday, at least 15 people were admitted and the state of health of those people is unknown. Also, the death toll as of Saturday remained at 15 but there has been no indication if anyone else has passed away over the last five days.

The data released by Public Health indicates that a total of 158 people have been hospitalised in Cayman as a result of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Of those, 130 have been admitted since the vaccines became available and 75% of the patients were unvaccinated. However, Public Health has not said how many of the 15 people who died were vaccinated.

The virus is still raging through the community, and according to last week’s figures, some 314 people were being infected per day, though that has been surpassed this week. But with the tardy reporting, it is still impossible for the public to gauge if Cayman has yet reached its peak of infection and how much longer they will need to deal with the impact of isolation.

The justification for the change, according to Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Autilia Newton, is to provide a “deep dive into local trends in transmission and testing” and to show policymakers the movement in figures over a week to help decision making.

By using what she said was an international standard to report its COVID-19 cases, the Cayman Islands will now be better able to compare its status with other jurisdictions during any given period. The ongoing review process includes cleaning the data as much as possible and ridding it of previous duplications and other technical errors.

“This is a living document but we believe that it is a valuable product and we are committed to preserving data integrity in a way that is open and transparent,” she said. “The new information will empower the government and the community to make decisions, allocate resources and plan based on proven trends in data.”

But since this new situation report covers the week from Sunday 12:00am to Saturday at 11:59pm, unless that data is released by Monday it is of little significance to the public. While the report is an important tool for officials, most countries release a similar document alongside basic daily statistics.

The UK, where Dr Newton was working during the pandemic, makes the number of new daily cases, hospitalisations, population percentages and the death toll available to the public within 24 hours.

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Category: Health, Medical

Comments (60)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was shocked when a visitor pointed out to me an item on a travel forum that indicated the Cayman Islands is reportedly experiencing a really huge number of new daily Covid cases for several days in a row this past week and that Cabinet is reconsidering closing its borders as a result of uncontrollable Covid spread. They said it went wild out on their Twitter too.
    Either someone is getting inside information, OR, someone is out to sabotage our tourism by publishing fear-mongering and filling in the blanks with scary stuff in between the government’s weekly-untimely-deficient reports. In regard to the latter, the takeaway is that web denizens abhor a vacuum and will fill it in with baxide gas in lieu of valuable substance. The reports, if not true, probably originate from our own marl road rumour mill or America where fake news is king. Shutting us down has been the aim of the US government and certain other factions for a long time. What better way to inflict damage to our economy than to exploit Covid fears and capitalise on Cayman’s deficient Covid reporting and our government’s capricious, hit and miss approach to travel policies?

  2. Anonymous says:

    How about conducting a survey and ask how many persons would report to hsa after a lft . The results should be interesting

    • Anonymous says:

      Only a crazy person or someone who doesn’t have a family to provide for.

    • Anonymous says:

      My answer 9:54 is nunca y jamás! I have home LFT tests but unless I feel badly ill, I do not plan on self-testing. In the event I self-test positive, I will get some rest until I feel better, then take typical Covid precautions–mask, sanitise, social distance, stay away from crowds, and go about living. If I get seriously ill and go to hospital or doctor, the medics will find out when they test me. But I do not ever plan on reporting to HSA a positive self test. I have heard too many horror stories from people I know about the fiery hoops people have had to jump through to get free of quarantine. I would be non compos mentis to trust this bumbling government with my freedom.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is no ethical argument for withholding public health data about COVID. When officials hold back data & try to give you a song & dance about why, it’s bc they want people to take uninformed risks & they want to undermine those who would object.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Common sense tells you that this positive figure is at least 25 percent higher than being recorded. Many people are not contacting government and just quarantining until clear and quite frankly, i dont blame them at all with Governments severe inability to manage mandated quarantine. Get vaccinated, be sensible and move on.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      I don’t blame them either. After all, it was what I did during flu season before Covid; if I was sick, I stayed home and isolated myself from my family until I was better. Most of the time that worked, and family didn’t catch it from me. You’re positive? Stay at home until you test negative, if your employment situation will allow that.

      What we should NOT be doing is hiding the knowledge that we have Covid, and continuing to interact with the public.

  5. Anonymous says:

    and in other news,weather forecasts will also be issued weekly and made public 2 weeks after the fact going forward. The reason given is that it takes time to check the calendar twice and the rain gauge once. 4 additional staff have been hired in order to achieve this advance in public information.

    • Anonymous says:

      @12:49 pm:
      For godssake do not give the Panton PACT-less Clown Car any ideas! They have proven fully capable of coming up with enough moronic, ill-conceived, and outright dangerous policies on their own. However, your comment just might help explain the prolonged time to get the weather radar back online. I mean who needs real-time weather info, right?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lets have trust in our OBESE MLAs

  7. Anonymous says:

    How can the restriction on reporting of daily figures be “better reporting”! I have have never heard such nonsense.

    What countries, other than third world countries don’t produce daily figures. If this is too difficult for Public Health, or too uncomfortable for government, including tourism. What hope have we got!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Back to third world roots. When you lose your way you go back to the beginning.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Correction for CNS – Minister Turner confirmed during yesterday confession of incompetence that 2 of the 15 who have lost their lives while “living with Covid” were fully vaccinated. That is not a criticism of CNS. It was extremely difficult to ascertain WTF was going on through all of the obfuscation.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If CIG wanted to find the virus, or were genuinely concerned about safeguarding public health, they would LFT the entire general population. We would screen out all asymptomatic positives in a few days, for peanuts in comparison to ongoing costs of PCR, business interruption, and indefinite quasi-closure with level 4 travel warnings. It would cost a fraction of the cost of a single month’s tourism stipend. What does it matter what the viral load of honest quarantining is, when nobody else is being screened?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you please STOP already with responding to every article with this? What would be the point of this as we’d be right back where we started in another week. Unless the entire population is testing every day, this is a futile exercise.

      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        I get where they are coming from.

        We had it all. I remember every weekend, we’d have travelers from the Sister Islands, along with those visitors who were willing to go through quarantine. Nobody wore masks. Live had returned to quasi-normal and it was good.

        Now look where we are. Precious few visitors want to dip their toes in our toxic soup. Interisland trade and travel appears to be almost nonexistent, and there is the negative bonus of people killed by the virus.

        New Zealand should have stayed the course. Australia should have stayed the course, and imo, so should have we.

        Now, the onus of protection and safety falls upon us, the people, while those who are making money off the minimal tourism stay safe in their condos.

        I agree that we can’t and shouldn’t stay closed forever, nor is that feasible. However, we don’t yet know how Omicron plays out, nor if there will be a more or less devious variant after it.

        We had it all, and now it’s gone, and yes, I am pissed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excerpt from another mainstream Cayman News site, explaining the changes in travel policy: “Premier Panton said tourism partners had been adamant for a long time that to truly reopen the tourism industry, visitors must be able to bring their children with them under the same vaccination status as their parents.”
    In other words, CITA, not experienced medical professionals, are directing Panton where to steer the Panton PACT-less Clown Car and he is dutifully complying to his handlers’ wishes in regard to Covid policy. What a pathetic excuse for a leader we have! Time to demand new elections. If Panton had even a modicum of conscience or integrity, he would resign.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hereinafter, we should not refer the morons heading our government as the Panton PACT Clown Car. Such a name is extremely mendacious. Our Premier, Mr. Wayne Panton will proudly tell you that PACT stands for “People driven, Accountable, Competent and Transparent”. However, in light of their new policy mandating infrequent, incomplete, stale-dated public Covid reporting, the bubu’s have now well earned the moniker “Panton PACT-less Clown Car”.
    …and the circus continues.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one seems happy, let’s vote them out. One term is way to much for this circus.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no alternative Bobo. Don’t you get that?

        The talent pool here is absolutely awful.

        • Anonymous says:

          It would be fine if we had a National Vote.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well said!
          Please permit me to paraphrase and slightly edit to “localise” part of a George Carlin monologue on the subject of how crappy politicians come to hold office:
          “Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from some other reality.
          They come from Caymanian parents, Caymanian families, Caymanian homes, Caymanian schools, Caymanian churches, Caymanian businesses…and they’re elected by Caymanian citizens.
          This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces. Garbage in…garbage out.
          If you have selfish, ignorant citizens…you’re gunna get selfish, ignorant leaders.”

        • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

          Yes, not only that, with the manner in which the past two governments have recombined, our individual votes are nearly meaningless. I voted for a person each time based upon their platform and stated beliefs. They then recombined with others that were somewhat contrary to those ideals.

          For me, it seems almost pointless, and I’m angry that this very powerful and important privilege of voting has been degraded. I want to remove the party system. I want to vote for people based upon their platform, and those with the most votes form a government that doesn’t owe homage to this or that lobby.

    • Anonymous says:

      I vote we call a referendum to oust the current officials and replace them with all the experts who post their wisdom and knowledge here on CNS comments.

      • Anonymous says:

        Direct Democratic Rule !
        You have my vote.
        (With modern technology its more achievable than ever.)

      • Anonymous says:

        How could that be any worse than the clowns who are now in charge? They run around tweaking their red noses, Beeeeep! Laugh screechy laughs at those who propose sensible policies, and with creepy grinsm they bobble their empty heads and dash away to plan yet another fiasco. All the while cheered and applauded by the equally mindless circus patrons who love their clown show.

  13. Anon1 says:

    What a cluster fu*k this gov policy has become. You need to be a rocket scientist to make any sense of the madness

    • Houston - "We have a problem!" says:

      yeah it requires rocket surgery at this point or maybe brain science. I’m so confused by them I can’t tell anymore…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps she needs a 4th shot?

    Get well soon, Minister.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Omicron cases went from 527 on 5th January to 1487 five days later on the 10th.
    Five days old data is 🤷🏻‍♀️ really unhelpful for the public in gauging risk.
    We used to get a weekly trends report posted and on video by Chief Nursing Officer Dr Hazel Brown as well as daily updates during weekdays.
    The weekly trends followed an epidemiology week and had useful data like age ranges, genders, vaccination status of cases and hospitalisations.
    It would be helpful to know, for example, how many school aged kids are infected.
    Are there high numbers of cases in still-unable-to-be vaccinated primary school aged children, as there are in the U.K.?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Any potential tourist reading about this utter fiasco would quickly change destinations. Cayman sounds like the set for a bad reality show: Survivor: Covid Chaos. Yet our delusional leaders think the solution is moving to phase 5..? What a joke

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hiding the data. It’s a pandemic of the vaccinated, elderly and ill.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the slow class:
      “It’s a pandemic of the vaccinated” is parroting the bullshit disseminated by tin hat anti-vax loonies and their fringe media fellow morons. Local and global evidence points us to the facts: The non-vaccinated, including those among the elderly and ill, are the ones most likely to be hospitalised and die.

  18. Anonymous says:

    That was one of the worst government media briefings I have had the misfortune of witnessing. The Health Minister Sabrina Turner was so condescending in her delivery, who did she think she was talking to? A classroom of squirmy children? Just awful.

    Constant ducking of questions that mattered – like the Cycle Threshold (CT) for PCR testing. Good luck to anyone vaccinated trying to exit isolation on Day 7, odds are you won’t.

    Waffling from Dr. Newton, rambling by Dr. Rodrigues. Jump and duck to avoid answering questions properly. “We are considering a series of antigen testing to exit isolation” – how much consideration do you really need? Is it that difficult to team up with Travel Cayman and use the portal already in existence for travellers? It just makes too much sense to ask the private health sector who are already assisting Travel Cayman with certified LFTs to aid an overloaded public health system, does it?

    • Anonymous says:

      She talks louder and more stern to make people believe she knows what she is speaking about. No clue of how to do this position. Very rude and self centered

      • Anonymous says:

        7:22 assesses Sabrina Turner’s Covid briefing spewings: “No clue of how to do this position. Very rude and self centered”.

        I shall proffer that Turner indeed manifests the fundamental requisites to be a front seat occupant of the Panton PACT-less Clown Car.

  19. Houston - "We have a problem!" says:

    These guys suck, no other way to describe it.

    • Anon1 says:

      May I add, no one seems to mention this gov has also started dinging the local population for pcr testing seemingly overnight. Over 100 dollars if memory serves when they’ve been free to this point. Is it because they’ve opened the floodgates between them and Cita to allow omicron in via borders open and rage amongst the population? Pondering, enquiring minds to discuss

  20. Anonymous says:

    The health department reports are as useful as the police department when they ask public help after 1 year of the crime, guess things are going backwards nowadays

  21. Anonymous says:

    One has to wonder if CITA and the business community is behind this, which is quite dangerous because it will lull the people into a sense of normalcy and abandonment of precautions, which in turn, increases the number of infections and possible deaths.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why else leave important data out? How to explain this?

        • Anonymous says:

          They have neither the staff nor the systems to enable the timely reporting of results. They were never, and are not ready. This never was, and is not, safe.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah let’s blame CITA, not the people who actually have the data and don’t want to share it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember, we’re ready and it’s safe kids. CITA told us so. Are you suggesting they didn’t know what they were talking about and were gambling with our lives?

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually it was the government that said we were ready. CITA said we needed to reopen, CIG said we were ready to do so and could manage it. I know CITA makes a popular whipping boy, but lets face it, CIG could have said no. And didn’t. Even worse, said they could manage the process when they clearly don’t have the resources or aptitude to do it. I don’t blame an industry lobby group for being selfish or focused on their own good – that’s their role. CIG is the one that is meant to be responsible and balance the wider and conflicting interests.

          • Anonymous says:

            Fine. But if they are promoting their interests over that of their host, they lose the right to insist they are good corporate citizens, especially if they are prepared to cost real citizens their lives in pursuit of their own short term commercial benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Things getting worse is certainty, we just don’t know how long the steam roll of infections will last.

    • Anonymous says:

      For a hint, refer to the comment at “20/01/2022 at 9:13 pm”
      By his very own admission, CITA are among Panton’s handlers.

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    #worldclass Franz. This shitshow is almost certainly going to result in extra transmission and unnecessary deaths. The levels of maladministration necessary for it to get this bad, especially after assurances that all concerned were ready for the challenges ahead, is very probably criminal. Good job we do not do accountability around here.

  24. Anonymous says:

    So the health minister was quick to throw the doctor under the bus at the press briefing when Wendy asked who would take responsibility on the issues with the testing issues.

    • CAy says:

      Welcome to Cayman. The land of no accountability, no consequences and the biggest sloping shoulders you’ll ever see. And you’re guaranteed a promotion if you know the right people.

    • Anonymous says:

      @4:16 I LOVE when Wendy squeezes their janglies and makes them squirm and babble and causes them to expel baxide gas. This is what the press should do! Expose their disingenuous babble and indict their emissions of putrid flatulence. Enough of the just soft questions.
      The public deserve answers to the hard questions.
      Yayyy! Go Wendyyyy!

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