(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Trinidad and Tobago may have witnessed its own anomaly in the evolution of the pandemic, in the case of three people quarantined at Camp Balandra who initially tested negative and are now confirmed with the virus, having shown no symptoms.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram disclosed yesterday that an additional three persons coming out of the Balandra facility — where 22 remained quarantined after returning from an ocean cruise — where the virus had been confirmed, tested positive after a fortnight of isolation and no visible signs of the illness.
Parasram said 19 people tested negative twice — as per protocol — and were able to be sent home, but three persons who tested negative the first time were found to be positive.
Among the investigations to be made into the development would be a check of the quarantine arrangements for a possible breach of protocol, as one of the three new positives was the spouse of a person who was confirmed with COVID-19 initially.
“We are beginning to look at it to see why they had a positive so long after being negative and then having no symptoms, as well,” Parasram said at the Ministry of Health virtual news conference to update on T&T’s COVID-19 status.
“It is an unusual situation virologically,” he stated. “I have discussed with the head of virology at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) as well, to some extent,” he added.
Parasram said details were just coming to him from the county medical officer but one patient who just confirmed was, in fact, a spouse of a confirmed patient at Balandra.
He maintained that like the other 19, these persons were well-isolated and were under the care of five nurses who ensured the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper hygiene.
“I’m now getting the details from my County Medical Officer of Health for the other two patients to see if they may have had a closer arrangement to someone else that would have been positive in that group before,” Parasram said.
Pending an epidemiological investigation, Parasram said he was confident in the arrangements at the Balandra facility.
“We are taking a very, very close look at it to see what is happening. Again, it is a brand-new virus and we are seeing people who are negative becoming positive and the other way around and in terms of the timing of when the tests are being done as well,” he said, having stated earlier that personal protective equipment was available, and patients and those in quarantine were looked after by nurses for the entirety of their stay.
More discharged, no new deaths
T&T’s COVID-19 death toll has remained at eight people but the number of confirmed cases has risen to 113, representing one additional case to the previous day, the Ministry of Health reported yesterday.
However, CMO Parasram reported during the briefing and again via news release that as of yesterday, four more patients had been discharged from Caura Health Facility, further freeing up physical capacity at that facility.
A total of 1,126 samples have been submitted to CARPHA for testing, which would include persons have been tested more than once as per protocol.
Parasram said of the 19 people discharged, he was confident that following procedure, where they would have been tested twice, those persons would not infect the public.
Those persons would also be followed up by health officials under the Quarantine Act and all persons discharged are advised to self-isolate and stay at home, he said.
Parasram again noted that the virus is under continuous study and it is not known how it may behave.
Parasram said 30 persons have been discharged from Couva overnight and are set to be moved to a step-down convalescent facility, while 55 persons remained hospitalised between Caura and Couva as of yesterday.