Ministry of Health Media Conference On COVID-19 – Wednesday September 22nd 2021

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh expressed concern about gatherings that may occur during this upcoming long weekend. He urged people not to congregate over this Republic Day weekend as it could lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Health Minister highlighted two gatherings that have the potential to “sink our parallel healthcare system:”

  • A house party in St. Augustine, where 14 people living in different parts of the country were arrested.
  • A beach lime at Mayaro, where 16 people from various parts of the country were arrested.

County Medical Officer of Health, St. George East, Dr. Osafo Fraser, gave details on the unvaccinated minor in his County who was later confirmed as having the Delta variant. According to Dr. Fraser, the unvaccinated child most likely contracted COVID-19 at a gathering of friends and neighbours. He said the child was playing with other unvaccinated minors “who were Positive prior to this.” Their parents were also unvaccinated and were confirmed as having COVID-19. Dr. Fraser stated that most attendees at the gathering were found to be Positive for the virus, and some severe cases were eventually hospitalised. One individual was later confirmed as having the Delta variant. Dr. Fraser urged parents and guardians to watch over their children as “they can be more efficient spreaders than adults.”

Dr. Fraser said over the last six weeks, 90% of COVID-19 cases in County St. George East occurred in the unvaccinated population. He said out of 49 persons hospitalised for COVID-19, 46 were unvaccinated.

Principal Medical Officer, Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards, noted that the 7-day rolling average has increased and is now at 209. Dr. Richards said health officials are worried by the increase, especially as the Delta variant has now been detected in the community. Additionally, eight out of 10 ICU beds continue to be filled in the parallel health care system.

According to Dr. Abdool-Richards, there are implications for this slight increase in COVID-19 cases:

  • Risk of a person requiring ICU/HDU-level care.
  • An increase in demand for resources, which are already limited.

Director of Women’s Health, Dr. Adesh Sirjusingh, said menstrual disturbances are “fairly common” at all stages of a women’s reproductive life and may not be as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine. He said issues such as diabetes, thyroid disease, weight loss/gain, fibroids, and polycystic ovaries impact a woman’s cycle. However, he said women should consult their doctors if they experience menstrual disturbances.

Minister Deyalsingh said no one in Trinidad and Tobago has died after taking any of the COVID-19 vaccines. There have been five adverse events related to taking the vaccine, and all five have since been resolved.

Minister Deyalsingh said it’s not too late for persons to make the decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He said, “They can save lives, and they can save Trinidad and Tobago.”

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