Public health boss cutting COVID reports

| 14/01/2022 | 147 Comments
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Even as the pandemic continues to rip through the community, closing offices, government departments and placing thousands of families in lockdown, the interim chief medical officer has announced plans to cut reports on the state of the pandemic to just once per week.

Despite the sustained public interest in the daily numbers, Dr Autilia Newton has revealed plans to produce a more comprehensive weekly report with only limited information being released on a daily basis.

On Thursday evening another 380 new cases of SARs-CoV-2 were confirmed through PCR tests, including 11 on the Sister Islands, with ten people admitted to hospital. The latest number of active cases has been withheld, but yesterday officials said the infection rate was running at around 5.4% and around 4,000 people are believed to be isolating.

Officials said the decision to shift from daily reporting to weekly was made after an assessment led by Dr Newton and visiting advisors from the UK Health Security Agency last month.

“Going forward, with immediate effect from Wednesday 19 January, the report will document an epidemiological week, from Saturday to Saturday, as per international standards,” officials said in the press release. However, most countries continue to report important data such as new daily cases, the active levels of infection, hospitalizations and deaths as well as vaccination rates every day.

The officials here said this new weekly report will include data and rates with graphs to help the public visualise the status of the virus in the community and make it easier to understand the changes, developments and overall trends of the epidemic in Cayman. Dr Newton claimed this weekly publication will also allow key messages to the public to be more meaningful and, hopefully, more effective.

“While the community has grown accustomed to daily reports of COVID-19 information, we are now focusing on producing data that will better guide our management of the pandemic locally,” she said. “By adjusting our scope, the Public Health and Ministry of Health teams will be able to offer a clearer picture of how COVID is impacting our community over a sustained period of time.”

The statistics are compiled by a two-person Public Health team that has steadily worked to compile the daily statistics since they began in 2020, and who will now be working on the weekly numbers. But as they will still be collecting and collating daily information, it is not at all clear why the public will not be given the most important headline numbers each day.

Public Health said it will report a reduced number of statistics until the first weekly report next Wednesday. After that, only “critical information will still be made available to the public as it occursthrough government communications channels”.

Numbers such as the confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, which currently stands at 132 with an additional 2,058 of possible cases, will now only be reported weekly, as will the number of admissions to hospital, one of the most important indicators regarding the state of the pandemic.  

Officials are expected to hold a meeting with the press next week to answer questions about this decision that will curtail the local media’s ability to report factually on the status of the pandemic and allow social media misinformation to fill the void.

However, the decision by Public Health to reduce the formal release of information will not prevent the press from requesting this information and reporting back to the public whatever data is released.

See CIG video below of Dr Newton explaining the decision to reduce the frequency of reporting:

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Category: Health, Medical Health

Comments (147)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Omicron is everywhere but with boosters you won’t take up hospital space so surely now all the rules are stupid? Why do we need isolation and daily case numbers?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why are the active cases only reported on the Brac?

    I don’t get it one chart says Cayman Islands and the other one says Sister Islands. Isn’t the sister Islands still part of the Cayman Islands. Is it so difficult to break this down by islands and use the same reporting items. Every chart that comes out has something different reported each day. Just make a list of things to be reported and keep it consistent. All that would be needed is to fill in the blanks. Is that so difficult?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I see from today’s government press release the sad news that another Caymanian was unable to ‘live with the virus’. So much for Omicron is mild. So much for Omicron is the flu.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Government is planning to drop quarantine for all tourists, infected or not in 10 days – 24 January. That will increase Covid infections with existing variants and will ensure that every new variants spread quickly once let into Cayman infecting as many people as possible. That is why PACT has decided not to publish any more information on Covid that might get in the way of profits for the few.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Crocodile tears. They stopped transparency a long time ago.
    For comparison you could look at other country / region data to see what patterns to expect in Cayman. Much higher infection rates among vaccinated than unvaccinated with Omicron.

    Ontario Canada


  6. Elvis says:

    I havent seen any reports never mind good reports from this administration to be honest.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is just wrong. With the wide spread of the virus the government has decided to reduce reporting to industry standards? Industry standard is due to the millions of reporting i.e. more people than the mere 68,000 – really? Sounds like pure laziness!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The standard used by the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and every other competent and semi-competent jurisdiction is daily reporting. Weekly (and weakly as well) reporting is not even up to third world standards.

  8. Anonymous says:

    We tried a Freedom of Information Office for a while but freedom of information exposed idiocy in government too often. It seems that we will have an FFIO or “Freedom from Information” Office going forward. The recently released strategy document for the newly created FFIO is entitled,’An ignorant and docile population makes for happy rich politicians’.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I totally disagree with this approach. This and the past CMO could barely get the daily reports together and they were never complete or had the same headings each day.

    I am not sure how they are going to compile this information on a weekly basis if the could even provide Monday through was not daily as they took the weekends off.

    Everyone looks for this information to come out on a daily basis and with today’s technology there is no reason why it shouldn’t. It is a matter of entering numbers into a database which should be done in real time when tests are done and when people die. What I see here is just pure laziness on this new CMO’s part. She is not prepared to put in the effort needed to get the job done.

    We need a full time Epidimiologist and a new CMO. This one has been passed around from country to country and has to understand that one size don’t fit all.

    Wayne and PACT Government, this needs to be changed. We need to know what is going on and having to wait 7 days to get some mishmashed incomplete information is just not right or reasonable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Surely you’re not suggesting they move all technology into the 21st-century? That would be ludicrous for this island stuck in the 70s and doing paperwork still.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I own a bar. All information about the effects of alcohol should be banned. So should the consequences of drunk driving and anything else done under the influence of alcohol. My friend is a drug dealer and he feels the same about information relating to what he sells. I hear that there are also pedophiles and (would you believe) corrupt politicians that also dislike information about there activities. Banning all information about Covid in our community would help us make our case for an information ban on the effects of what we do so we support those who want an end to all Covid reporting. (Sarcasm for those too thick to recognize it.)

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 14/01/2022 at 6:42 pm
      No one CAN to ban all information about COVID. Not today! Unless one lives in a cave.
      Do you mean by ALL INFORMATION- gender, age, medical history, vax status?

      Why stop there? I demand lifestyle and eating habits, plus what kind of treatments they received from their Doctor (which apparently did not work for a person was admitted), AND in the Hospital- I want to know what kind of procedures and treatments were administered, was it done timely, in appropriate dosage, appropriate medication and how many people supervised a sick person and what is their qualification.

  11. Anonymous says:

    In my opinion Dr. Newton has already proven to be a significant disappointment. Also, is the visiting advisors from the UK Health Security Agency also guiding the decisions that are being made in the UK?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Watch the video in this article

    Do you see yourself?
    Is it funny to you?
    Would you call him names?

    A previously normal human being has developed Thanatophobia- an intense fear of death or dying as a result of 2 years of intense fear-mongering.

    He needs help, not ostracism, for his mental condition is serious. But most comments are juvenile, making fun of him.

    Quite a few individuals posting comments here alsoclearly need to see a mental help professional. Meantime, reducing the volume of information that affects people’s mental wellbeing is overdue and welcome.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a ridiculous argument. Nobody is forced to read news..

    • Anonymous says:

      Very sad situation but you lost me when you forgot to mention that thanatophobia is form of mental illness, an irrational fear that can cause anything from mild anxiety to full blown psychosis. It is not caused by news reports. It existed long before Covid and will exist long after this pandemic subsides.
      Some people also suffer from Triskaidekaphobia – do you think that we should ban the number 13? That would make just as much sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sing of societal mental illness.

  13. Anonymous says:

    A week is a long time with an exponentially spreading virus.
    31 December 376 cases of omicron
    7 January 1073 cases of omicron
    14 January 2058 cases of omicron

    Daily case numbers and hospitalizations allows us to gauge the threat levels appropriately. Detailed data and trends once a week are appreciated and useful but don’t leave us flying blind for days at a time!

    Realize public health are likely overwhelmed but letting the public know what’s happening is a key part of crisis management. Please reconsider.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It seems that the late December decision to cancel the earlier idiotic decision to allow a cruise ship into port on 28 December was an isolated event. We are now back to stupid decisions again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Good decision – daily reporting of numbers only serves to make people panic. It’s already wide spread, and is mostly Omnicron (the mild version), so time to move on and treat it like the flu.

  16. Sheriff says:

    After following this for two years now I’m not sure the daily number of covid cases is an important factor to any of us. How does it help us to know the daily case count? As experts continue to point out, the important number is hospitalisation and death. If the daily case count is higher does it force more people to stay indoors, or does it serve to create more fear?

    I don’t know if this is the right choice or the wrong choice but regardless of what anyone thinks, it is the choice they have made.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Just stop reporting full stop and move on with things

    • Anonymous says:

      Just don’t read if you like but don’t tell the rest of us that we should live in a fact free environment.

    • Anonymous says:

      A small percentage of folks posting here clearly have infophobia – an irrational fear of information. (Look it up, it is a real thing). To them I say just don’t look at the media – you will feel better.
      Others posting here simply want to deny others access to information as a way of disenfranchising them and preventing them from influencing decision making in our democracy. They make up the majority of those advocating the end of information access but they fortunately they are only a tiny percentage of the electorate.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am a bit worried by the leadership and policies of this CMO, several individuals have pointed to proposals made which, if implemented, will be disastrous for our country and its tourism product. The Government would be best advised to seek second opinions before irreparable damage is done.

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:15pm..What leadership? She has decided that we are not entitled to information on a daily basis. If that is going to be her policy, I say she should get on the next BA flight along with her UK advisors that are here at our expense..

  19. Anonymous says:

    Kenny’s back and back in charge!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    PACT motto – “what the people don’t know won’t hurt us”

  21. Anonymous says:

    I get PACT’s decision to do this. It is better for them to prevent information getting out and have people assume that you are incompetent rather than allow the information to get out that proves their incompetence beyond any doubt.

    • Anonymous says:

      @3:06 pm.. I think the article said it is the CMO and the visiting experts from the UK. Not sure how you got that it was a PACT decision out of that which sort of proves that you don’t interpret information well. I suggest they only give it you on a quarterly basis so that you will have time in between to make sure you read it several times..

      For the record I totally disagree with this weekly reporting..

      • Anonymous says:

        I read the article but having been here going on forever and knowing the decision makers involved there is no way this decision was free from political input. The CMO is the messenger.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Anyone checked the Gazettes to see if the Control of Covid-19 (Travel) Regulations, 2021 – which covers the need for 2, 5 and Day 10 testing – has been extended? Otherwise they expire tomorrow (Saturday 15th)….asking for a friend

    • Anonymous says:

      Let it expire. Or change to 2 only. If the first tine you’re positive is day 5 or 10 its a community transmission. Tourist have to get tested before they leave, so that will be a last check for them.

    • Sheriff says:

      Is there a need to continue this testing? We know we have many people in the community testing positive on LFT but not reporting…at this point will it make a difference if the day 2,5,10 testing is discontinued?

      Also asking for a friend. 😜

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not allowed anymore to ask for a friend , its banned for 2022. A Gif-meme still works tho’

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why do we STILL not have:

    1) No exit PCR testing. If you were positive and its been 10-15 days, congrats, you no longer have contagious COVID.

    2) Removal of quarantine for unvaccinated kids who travel into Cayman (whether for vacation with their family or returning residents).

    Also – stop sending everyone to South Sound to get tested. If you want people to actually report, the rule should be if you have a positive LFT, you stay home until you have negative LFT for 2 days in a row (could happen in 5 days, could happen in 10 days) and then you release yourself from quarantine. Anyone who self-reports right now and ends up in the system are dumb. Public Health is overwhelmed and don’t know their right from their left.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Stop testing and start living…

  25. Anonymous says:

    the only numer of relavence is the number of people seriously ill in hospital…nothing else.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the only clinically material number are the count on asymptomatic positives running around, not doing a LFT, when for just GBP2 per day, we could all know who’s who for sure. We even have a good supply of the diagnostic tools here to know for sure, and aren’t mandating them. If everyone wanting to be in public tested every day for 28 days, we’d have a very good handle on this, and life would be basically normal for those testing negative. The end.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where can I buy a test for GBP 2 on island? Last I checked the only legal tender here is USD or KYD & the cheapest test I’ve found is KYD 5 which I know does not convert to GBP 2!!!
        I cannot afford KYD 5 for 28 days when that would be approx 14% of my pension payment!

    • Anonymous says:

      The only clinically material number are the count on asymptomatic positives running around in the community undetected, not doing a LFT, when for just GBP£2 per day, we could all know who’s who for sure. We even have a good supply of the reliable diagnostic tools here to sniff them out, and aren’t mandating them. If everyone wanting to circulate in public would take 5 minutes to test themselves every day for 28 days, we’d have a very good handle on this, and life would be basically turn to normal for those continuing to test negative, which would probably be almost everyone after a month. The end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fast forward to 2022 and we now have LFT kits where everyone can confidently ascertain “who’s asymptomatic positive” in about 5 minutes for £2.00 per wholesale test.

      It would be dumb to resign to covid as if it were an inevitability, when the solution to our problem of sniffing out community asymptomatic positives is right there staring back at us now from our checkout counters.

      Normalcy is cheap, easy, reliable, and in good supply. A game changing, tourism igniting, 30 day supply for every resident and visitor alike would cost <£240,000.

      CI gov't and CITA should work out who pays for that, and just get it done. So easy if we are placing the proper order size. The end.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is it just me or is PACT less and less transparent despite having the pledge for transparency in their very own name? Or maybe the T in PACT stands for something else?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I actually don’t mind if we only get reports once a week. It’s not that big a deal plus was here on CMR if anyone died. I think the fact of the matter is people need to stop testing unless they’re symptomatic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Asymptomatic positives continue to be what drives this still-not-a-flu, and you want to only test those with symptoms? What is the function of that exercise, apart from displaying an acute lack of understanding of COVID in year 3? LFT everyone, every day for 30 days. Then it’s gone and we’re done. No lockdown, just a 5 minute a day test for one month. The end.

      • Sheriff says:

        @4:29 – playing devil’s advocate: your theory would depend on several factors. First, the border would have to be closed, no one in our out for any reason during those 30 days. Second, every positive person would have to be trusted to quarantine for the required 10 days. Third, the border could never be open again because anyone leaving, returning, or visiting would bring Covid back.

        You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you I’m so glad you responded to that person because I don’t have the energy to argue with plans that were not well thought out which is what the government continues to put on anyone traveling into the Cayman Islands.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Look forward to an update from Panton and PACT in this afternoon’s news conference, where they can address their current thinking/plans on things like reducing 10 day isolation (to UK and US’s 5 days), increasing the 24 hour pre-arrival testing window back to 48 hours etc, eliminating arrival quarantine for children under 12 and replacing with testing….and other irrational/inconsistent and dated policies.

    Oh wait…..there is no press conference again this week, after weeks and weeks of no press conferences, just like last year where we wait months at a time for one. Does “T” stand for transparency in “PACT”?

    Panton…YOU wanted this job…man up for god sake.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Nice one PAC! Where’s the T?

  30. JTB says:

    A welcome step back by Government from the usual harmful and hysterical over-reaction to Covid

  31. Anonymous says:

    Good! There is no need to know how many people test positive every day. If you’re worried about catching Covid, operate with the assumption that anyone/everyone could be contagious and act appropriately.

    Even more stupid is them wasting resources to determine which variant it is. Useless!

  32. anon says:

    who needs to know the daily stats anyway !. Covid is here to stay get on with life and lets read some decent newsworthy stuff. This is getting really boring

  33. Anonymous says:

    The best way to spread disinformation is to limit information. I hear that more than 100 people were admitted to hospital yesterday. Spread that on social media. There will be no factual information for at least a week and any information released under this new regime will probably be doctored. What a wonderful decision to facilitate disinformation and further discredit factual information. Well played PACT.

  34. Anonymous says:

    This has to be one of the more ‘tone deaf’ decisions PACT has made. It is right up there with giving themselves a big raise as soon as they could and appointing people with previous convictions for committing fraud in a public office to a public board. At least they are consist.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This makes no sense from either a public health or a public policy perspective. Have to ask, who will benefit from this effort to keep the public in the dark and by how much?

  36. Anonymous says:

    Not ready. Not safe. We were lied to.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Those who wish to live in ignorance can simply ignore Covid reports. The rest of us would like to be able to make informed decisions.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Oh how i miss the good ole days with Dr Lee Lee and Mr languages. And to think we thought they were a jokers! Wanted change Cayman, TAKE CHANGE! TAKE DAT!.. What a mess!

  39. Anonymous says:

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now admits the PCR test can remain positive for up to 12 weeks after infection. For this reason, they say most people don’t need to retest negative before ending their quarantine.

    The CDC also admits the PCR cannot ‼️ identify active infection or measure contagiousness.

    How is it that the CDC didn’t realize until now that the PCR test was picking up dead viral debris for three months after infection? The facts that the test, a) was far too sensitive, and b) couldn’t identify active infection, were criticisms from the start. What the CDC’s belated admission means is that, for the past two years, people have unnecessarily 🤬wasted time in self-isolation — perhaps weeks — waiting for a negative test.

    ✅ YES, PCR Cannot Tell You Anything About Contagiousness. So, how can we tell if we’re infectious or not? Fauci confirmed that the PCR can only tell you there’s a presence or absence of viral fragments, not whether it’s an active infection, or whether you’re actually infectious. He did not, however, provide an answer to the question as to how one can measure contagiousness.

    Yet another confounding factor in this mess is that the rapid test apparently doesn’t pick up Omicron very well. Your viral load needs to be very high at the time of testing in order for the rapid test to recognize it.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      Nowhere in your CDC link does it in any way “admit” any of the assertations of your first three paragraphs. Your second link discusses that which we’ve always known about LFTs — that they cannot quantify the specific variant, require a significant viral load to show a positive result and that they have a much higher margin of error than the PCR.

      The crux of your post becomes apparent in the third paragraph: “What the CDC’s belated admission means is that, for the past two years, people have unnecessarily 🤬wasted time in self-isolation — perhaps weeks — waiting for a negative test.”

      Nice try, but some of us actually read and stuff.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Wonder if they will be able to separate the Sister Islands and have stats for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      The object of the decision is to decrease or eliminate the information available to the public so I very much doubt it.

  41. Anonymous says:

    That is the most lame-assed excuse for denying the public access to information I have read in a long time. Another PACT achievement to go along with appointed convicted criminals to public boards.

  42. Anonymous says:

    There is no international standard that requires, recommends or even suggests limiting publication of pandemic data to once per week. The UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ, etc report daily. I understand that North Korea, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and similar states report weekly which says a lot about the way this government intends to govern.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Next, please… Acting MD needs to go… Let me guess, cayman compass publishing the reports. Rolls eyes.

  44. Say it like it is. says:

    She needs to cut quarantine for children and include in her “reports” the number of hospitalised who are unvaccinated.

    • Anonymous says:

      She also needs to report the number of vaccinated who are positive but are out there spreading the virus to other unsuspecting people. The discrimination against the unvaccinated is unfair and unjust! I have friends in one family with a child who tested positive and the vaccinated adults, who can catch and spread the virus are out and about after a negative flow test, but the unvaccinated ones who also tested negative are being punished and kept in quarantine for 14 days. Yet, at the end of the 14 days they were still negative but 2 of the vaccinated caught the virus and are sick. So, how are these regulations deemed to be fair or just? This is the blatant discrimination happening in these islands!! PACT can rest assured that my friends, and many others so affected by these discriminatory acts, are just waiting for the 2025 election. It can’t come fast enough!

    • Anonymous says:

      along with vaxxed! Let’s not request one-sided information.

  45. Anonymous says:

    A further step in the PACT treat the public like mushrooms policy. Keep them in the dark and feed them sh!t occasionally.

  46. Anonymous says:

    This is a political decision to try to distract and disinform the public pure and simple. Limiting transparency is what despotic governments do all over the planet.

  47. Anonymous says:

    And just like that a medical professional turns politician. When the news is bad keep it from the people. Absolutely no reason in this digital age real time statistics cannot be posted.

  48. Anonymous says:

    What is the real reason for cutting these public reports of those are compiled anyway? The public has the right to know. Most developed countries provide daily statistics. Does she think we are too dumb here in the Cayman Islands to process these data or is there something to hide or doctor?

  49. Anonymous says:

    👍 I support this decision. It will reduce mass hysteria about COVID.

    Perhaps people would switch their focus on the state of Cayman Environment, The Dump, Women and children abuse, Dismal state of education, Ever growing obesity and Cancer cases, Roads safety, Traffic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hysteria is tempered with 5 reports a week. Wait till you see the outcry next Wednesday when 2000 new cases are reported.

  50. Anonymous says:

    What she should be cutting is the pointless over testing.

    • Anonymous says:


      And the completely irrational quarantine requirements.

      And the dumb-as-rocks visitor testing.

    • Anonymous says:

      That too.

      People who test positive for SARS-CoV-2, or have known exposure, but remain asymptomatic, now only need to isolate for five days rather than the previous 10, but should wear a mask for another five days when at work or in public. Also, they don’t need to get retested at the end of their quarantine. The stated reason? Because:

      The majority of viral transmission (85% to 90%) occurs in the first day or two before symptom onset, and two to three days after symptom onset.
      The PCR test can remain positive for up to 12 weeks after you’ve recovered from the infection.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t report to HSA, stay home a couple of days, two days of negative on the LFT and get back to work.

      • Say it like it is. says:

        10.16am Your first sentence – contrast this with children who contracted Covid, tested negative after 2 weeks return to Cayman and are locked up again for 15 days.

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