Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has assured that Carnival 2023 will go on, and there will be no disruptions to the economy, or restrictions on travel.
At a Media Conference on COVID-19 today, health officials confirmed an uptick in COVID-19 cases following the Christmas Season. Technical Director, Epidemiology Division, Dr. Avery Hinds, noted that this was driven by increased gatherings/mingling over the Christmas period with this trend expected to continue into Carnival.
Given the increased movement within the population at this time, the Prime Minister urged people to take preventative measures against COVID-19, including wearing masks. He said “We are going into a Carnival where the nature of Carnival is meeting and mixing. We do not believe that the situation warrants us to not have Carnival, but we believe it warrants us taking personal decisions about your exposure…”
Principal Medical Officer Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards confirmed that there has been an increase in demand for hospital care for COVID-19 patients since December 2022.
Presently, 71 patients are being treated in the public health institutions for COVID-19. Five of these patients require ICU care, and two of the 71 patients are paediatric cases.
Dr. Abdool-Richards said 90% of COVID-19 patients at hospital have significant comorbidities and are not fully vaccinated.
There are no patients at “Step Down” facilities at this time. All patients are being treated at the public health institutions.
There is capacity at the Accident and Emergency Departments to handle COVID-19 patients. There is also capacity within the Ambulance service to transport patients.
Prime Minister Rowley noted that the level of COVID-19 infection in the population does not necessarily mean hitting the panic button. He said the Government continues to monitor COVID-19 through the Ministry of Health, and its response to COVID-19 will be guided by the science and local public health specialists.