T&T: Army called in as covid19 patients in Couva disobey quarantine

(NEWSDAYTT) – HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the army had to be called as 40 people who tested positive for covid19 and were being quarantined at Couva Hospital were disobeying restrictions.

He was speaking at a media conference held at the Diplomatic Centre, Port of Spain.

He said a front page of a daily newspaper showing two people embracing after one returned on a flight demonstrated the type of behaviour that was not in keeping with what is expected with covid19 restrictions.

“The message is not getting down to every single person.”

Deyalsingh reported on the 40 patients at Couva who returned to Trinidad from a cruise in Guadeloupe and were previously quarantined at Camp Balandra.

“We actually had to call in the army to talk to them to behave themselves. To adhere to quarantine rules and to stop violating the zones that we have put out for them.”

He added: “You were quarantined for a reason.”

He also reported a preparatory school in Power Magazine, Diego Martin announced it was open for business (after all schools had been closed).

“We had to shut them down. The whole western peninsula could have had community spread.”

He said some private schools felt like there was a different rule for them.

Deyalsingh reported that Carpha had expanded its covid19 testing where all samples that fit the criteria would be tested. He said, however, that Carpha would not be able handle all the testing with the new protocols and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines were being brought in to supplement their work. The first PCR machine was scheduled to arrive at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex by the end of the week and the Trinidad Public Health Lab, located on the Carpha compound in Port of Spain, would receive one in two to three weeks, and a third PCR from the International Atomic Energy Agency in about four to six weeks.

He said there are private labs doing rapid tests in East, South and Central but these were not accurate.

“Do not send your samples to these labs.”

He stressed that testing was available to “every living soul” provided they fit the criteria and that included Venezuelans or illegal immigrants.

Deyalsingh was also asked about Government’s policy regarding private nurseries.

“We should not have to be beating people over the head with a bat to tell you to do the right thing. Do we really need to have a public health order to tell people who own nurseries do not open? The lives of those babies are in your hands.”

He said babies have immature immune systems and if infected could then infect their parents and grandparents.

He also reported that testing for healthcare workers was being expanded, accommodation provided so they do not have to go home, corporate TT has provided free meals to those on the front-line and TSTT had agreed to give certain workers free credit to speak with their families.

He said the bed capacity was also being ramped up at and at Couva the capacity was 254 with 46 occupied, at Caura the capacity is 100 with 18 occupied, and at Arima Hospital 90 beds.

He said the covid19 hotline 877-WELL was not being used for the purpose envisaged and people were calling and asking how to change their flights. He stressed the hotline was for authentic covid-related questions.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the army had to be called as 40 people who tested positive for covid19 and were being quarantined at Couva Hospital were disobeying restrictions.

He was speaking at a media conference held at the Diplomatic Centre, Port of Spain.

He said a front page of a daily newspaper showing two people embracing after one returned on a flight demonstrated the type of behaviour that was not in keeping with what is expected with covid19 restrictions.

“The message is not getting down to every single person.”

Deyalsingh reported on the 40 patients at Couva who returned to Trinidad from a cruise in Guadeloupe and were previously quarantined at Camp Balandra.

“We actually had to call in the army to talk to them to behave themselves. To adhere to quarantine rules and to stop violating the zones that we have put out for them.”

He also reported a preparatory school in Powder Magazine, Diego Martin, announced it was open for business (after all schools had been closed).

“We had to shut them down. The whole western peninsula could have had community spread.”

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