enfrhtptes

MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #30

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12am on 9th April, 2020:

THE TCI HAS NOT RECORDED ANY NEW COVID-19 DEATHS.

THE TOTAL CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASES REMAINS AT EIGHT (8). One confirmed positive case has passed away since confirmation and another case has since left the TCI. Proper infection prevention and control measures were utilized during this entire process.

The number of suspected cases of COVID-19 in the TCI HAS RISEN SLIGHTLY TO EIGHT (8). The eight suspected cases are persons (seven residents and one visitor) experiencing relevant symptoms but with no recent travel history or pertinent contact. Two suspected cases are under hospital care.

All persons met the WHO case definition for a suspected case of COVID-19. Samples have been collected and sent for testing, and we are currently awaiting results.

QUARANTINE/OBSERVATION NUMBERS HAVE INCREASED TO 48. This includes: The active confirmed cases (patients in the TCI that are currently infected) (6), contacts of a confirmed case (6), the suspected cases (8), persons under investigation (4), relatives/contacts of suspected cases/persons under investigation (22), and TCI residents returning from overseas (2). Persons under observation/quarantine are either not displaying symptoms or have not meet the case definition for COVID-19.

On 1st April, 2020 the case definition for COVID-19 was amended for TCI; a travel history is no longer needed to fit the criteria. Given the closure of the TCI borders it is likely that new case would be as a result of local transmission.

NO NEW TEST RESULTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED SINCE THE PREVIOUS UPDATE AS AT 8th APRIL, 2020. To date, a total of sixty-one (61) test results have been received, with fifty-three (53) confirmed negative and eight (8) positive confirmations. Persons confirmed not to have COVID-19, and their contacts, were moved from quarantined status and asked to continue following proper guidelines from the Ministry of Health. Those cases confirmed positive are in isolation with contact tracing aggressively continuing.

The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to remind the public of offenses committed under section 18 of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 in regard to false Statements/information. You do not have to be the originator of the statement/information in order to be charged under the law.

Please note the following definitions:

  • A suspected person is someone who meets the case definition as outlined by WHO and CARPHA - and is experiencing symptoms.
  • A person in quarantine is an individual on island who has come from infected country(ies) or may have come in proximity to suspected or confirmed cases - and have not exhibited symptoms.

Let's continue to reduce the risk by: 1. Washing our hands for 20secs or more 2. Practicing social distancing 3. Prepare your home, office and other surroundings by following the advice of the Ministry of Health and other credible health agencies.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website, www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call our hotline numbers, (649) 232-9444 and (649) 333-0911, if you or someone you know has symptoms or signs of COVID-19.

Ministerial Speech presented by the Minister of Health Agriculture Sports & Human Services on 7th April, 2020

Mr. Speaker I want to begin by associating myself with the condolences being offered to the Member for Grand Turk North on the passing of his younger brother Dudley and also the entire Lightbourne Family, especially Myron, Michael, Mary, Brenda, Linda, and Carl. This was our first COVID-19 related death, and one death is one too many for us. We all have to continue to do whatever we can to mitigate against this virus and to prevent other deaths from occurring.

The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports, & Human Services continues to closely monitor the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which commenced preparation and awareness as early as January, 2020. We understand this is a stressful time for people in almost every part of the world, and our people here in the Turks and Caicos Islands want to know what is been done, and what they can do now to protect themselves and their families. To date, our Dash Board numbers, show that there are now 8 confirmed positive COVID-19 individuals. 61 tests have been completed for SARS-CoV-2, and out of that 53 were negative for SARS-CoV-2 not. A total of 331** persons have been released from quarantine/observation, and 63 persons are now remaining in quarantine.

TESTING -Currently our COVID-19 Testing is being done at reference laboratories outside the TCI; in the Bahamas, and in Trinidad at Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). Results from the Bahamas takes 48 hours from the time sent, and from CARPHA the turnaround time was usually 72-96 hours.

There are two main types of test – a PCR test and an Antibody tests;

  • The PCR test tell you if you currently have the virus by locating coronavirus gene sequences and creating multiple copies that can then be easily detected. This typical- ly requires a nose or throat
  • An Antibody Test- This test can tell whether you have had the virus by looking for the COVID-19 IgG antibodies in the Blood. This requires a drop of blood from a finger prick.

The Ministry has sourced 3 PCR Machines from three different sources, however regrettably due to shipment routes logistics, the arrival dates has been changing. This capacity is something that the Ministry have been vigorously trying to get in place here in the country for the past 6 weeks; Public Health England (PHE) has ordered a standard PCR analyzer (QuantStudio 5) along with the necessary accessories and training. The analyzer is being built by the manufacturer and PHE shall advise when the analyzer will arrive. PHE has procured 10 testing kits (PCR reagents-960 test), The kits are scheduled to be released during the current week. Additional testing kits will be made available during the up coming weeks.

An Order has been placed for a PCR Hood, this equipment is necessary for the manipulation of samples when using the standard PCR analyzer. A rapid closed system PCR analyzer (GeneXpert IV) along with 500 test kits has been procured. This analyzer has 4 modules (4 simultaneous test) and can return a result in approximately 45 minutes (prep time not included). The vendor has informed that the analyzer will be ordered during the current week and we can expect to receive the equipment during this week of the 6th April, 2020. A standard PCR analyzer (QuantStudio 5- 96-well) is also on order. The vendor has indicated that delivery would be in 2 weeks.

Mr. Speaker, No one in the Ministry of Health is comfortable with testing being done outside the country, however we are grateful for the two previously mentioned partnerships.

Mr. speaker this lesson is a bitter sweet moment for me; Bitter because were not equipped to deliver this coronavirus testing, like many of the countries who already had PCR machines in their Laboratories to facilitate testing, and only had to order the specific testing kits and reagents.

Sweet because now persons realize why it was a bad idea to close down, disassembled, and take to pieces the Government Laboratories that Myself and others like Carol Mills, Shanwell Gardiner, Tanya Parker, and other Lab staff at that time had taken years to build capacity in both Grand Turk & Providenciales, to bring to an iso 7000 accredited Laboratories which at that time tested for just about everything of Medical Importance, with all the specialized analyzers and safety equipment. It was the wrong thing to do, it was a bad thing to do, and now all can realize why they should have listen to us and not destroy that critical in country capacity, that especially now is greatly needed.

ADDITIONAL BEDS / ISOLATION SITES

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure have aggressively sought out addition Bed/ Isolation capacity to add to that which between the 2 hospitals, Cockburn Town Medical Center and Cheshire Hall Medical Center. We have been successful in sourcing and additional 45 apartments (70 rooms) on the Island of Providenciales. In Grand Turk the Government is in the process of finalizing and additional 16 rooms. In South Caicos and North Caicos, potential properties have been identified and the negotiation process commenced. This will give the country greater capacity to care and treat those that may become infected. The saying goes, “It is better to have it and don’t need it, then to need it and don’t have it.” The Ministry of Health has also assisted with the transfer of three long stay patients from Cockburn Town Medical Center to the Wellness Center thereby freeing up additional bed space for surge capacity.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

The Ministry current has in stock approximately 8,000 N95 masks, with an additional 12,000 in shipment. We will also be placing another order for 30,000 masks, as this initial 20,000 will be for all the frontline staff; which include The Health teams, Police, Immigration, Prison Officers, Wellness Center Workers.

VENTILATORS

Currently there is 5 ventilators in Providenciales , and 2 ventilators in Grand Turk. We have actively been sourcing and additional 10 ventilators, which is delayed in arrival due to shipping logistics.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Additional Human Resources are being requested through the Cuban Consulate to augment existing personnel at the Hospital and the MOH. Feedback is expected to be received on this request in this week. The specialists sought after to support ICU capacity includes physicians and nurses as well as medical officers, public health nurses, EMTs and EHOs to support the MOH.

RESOURCES

The Ministry continues to work with Public Health England, participating in weekly virtual meetings as well as dialogue with Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and PAHO for technical assistance. needs.

POLICY ANALYSIS

Measures Taken/ Ongoing;

A comprehensive COVID-19 preparedness and response plan has been developed inclusive of standard operating procedures for airport surveillance, mass gatherings, contact tracing, the operations of the Health Emergency Operating Centers and the quarantine center etc. In addition, plans have been drafted and disseminated for the Prison, Detention Centers. Wellness Centers, and Funeral Homes. Guide lines for health care practitioners both n the public and private sector have been drafted and circulated.

The TCI Hospital has also activated its plan and commenced emergency operations whereby routine services have been suspended and enhanced screening of all clients entering the hospitals has commenced. Revised schedules for clinic services including primary health and dental have been published for all islands and a mental health hotline has been established in order to provide psychological support to those in need which is manned by the Mental Health and Substance Dependence Department mental health professionals.

The Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands is urgently take all necessary measures to slow and prevent the further spread of the virus, and to avoid our health systems from becoming overwhelmed due to seriously ill patients with COVID-19. In addition, we encourage all persons to stay informed about what’s happening in your community and to always follow the directions of Ministry of Health and other Responding Government Authorities.

WORLD HEALTH DAY

This week, April 7, 2020; World Health Day is celebrated; This year awareness is being brought to Nurses and Mid wives in their role in the fight against COVID-19.

PLEASE HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

Follow these steps to help keep you and others safe:

~Stay home         

~Practice social distancing            

~Wash your hands often

~ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

~ Clean and disinfect household surfaces    

~Cover your coughs and sneezes                                                            

~Wear a mask to protect yourself and others

~Build your Immune System.

WE ALL MUST DO OUR PART, IF WE ARE TO BEAT THIS VIRUS

MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #29

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12am on 8th April, 2020:

THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THE TCI COVID-19 SITUATION OVER THE PAST 24HRS.

NO NEW DEATHS HAVE BEEN RECORDED.

THE TOTAL CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASES REMAINS AT EIGHT (8). One confirmed positive case has passed away since confirmation and another case has since left the TCI. Proper infection prevention and control measures were utilized during this entire process.

The number of suspected cases of COVID-19 in the TCI has REMAINS AT FIVE (5). The total five suspected cases are persons experiencing relevant symptoms but no relevant travel history or pertinent contact. Two suspected cases are under hospital care.

All five persons had met the WHO case definition for a suspected case of COVID-19. Samples have been collected and sent for testing, and we are currently awaiting results.

QUARANTINE/OBSERVATION NUMBERS ALSO REMAIN UNCHANGED. Persons under quarantine/observation (31)—The active confirmed cases (positive cases in the TCI that are currently infected) (6), contacts of a confirmed case (6), the suspected cases (5), relatives/contacts of suspected cases (12), TCI residents returning from overseas (2). Persons under observation/quarantine are either not displaying symptoms or have not meet the case definition for COVID-19.

On 1st April, 2020 the case definition for COVID-19 was amended for TCI; a travel history is no longer needed to fit the criteria. Given the closure of the TCI borders it is likely that new case would be as a result of local transmission.

NO NEW TEST RESULTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED SINCE THE PREVIOUS UPDATE AS AT 7th APRIL, 2020. To date, a total of sixty-one (61) test results have been received, with fifty-three (53) confirmed negative and eight (8) positive confirmations. Persons confirmed not to have COVID-19, and their contacts, were moved from quarantined status and asked to continue following proper guidelines from the Ministry of Health. Those cases confirmed positive are in isolation with contact tracing aggressively continuing.

The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to remind the public of offenses committed under section 18 of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 in regard to false Statements/information. You do not have to be the originator of the statement/information in order to be charged under the law.

Please note the following definitions:

  • A suspected person is someone who meets the case definition as outlined by WHO and CARPHA - and is experiencing symptoms.
  • A person in quarantine is an individual on island who has come from infected country(ies) or may have come in proximity to suspected or confirmed cases - and have not exhibited symptoms.

Let's continue to reduce the risk by: 1. Washing our hands for 20secs or more 2. Practicing social distancing 3. Prepare your home, office and other surroundings by following the advice of the Ministry of Health and other credible health agencies.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website, www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call our hotline numbers, (649) 232-9444 and (649) 333-0911, if you or someone you know has symptoms or signs of COVID-19.

GOVERNOR’S ADDRESS: ARRANGEMENTS OVER EASTER

Good evening Turks and Caicos. It’s the Governor speaking.

A short but important announcement this evening.   We’ve now been in curfew and lockdown for 11 days. From a national perspective it’s going well and we are grateful we have strong public support for which myself, the Premier, the Cabinet and the Police want to say thank you.

The weekend we are approaching – the Easter weekend - is traditionally one where business activity slows considerably.  In the belief that you will meet us half way we want to use this Easter period to just slow, still further, the amount of movement and comingling on the Island.

Let me start by saying what I’m not about to announce is a confirmation of a rumor that started to circulate today that Cabinet were going to order a complete lockdown over Easter. That was false; we are not.

Over this Easter period you may still exercise in the morning and evening, within the set times, and if you hold a specific exemption – such as needing to care for someone that needs care - you may attend to their needs.  But you must have an exemption.

There will also be some businesses that will still function and they are obvious: medical facilities including doctor’s offices; hotels where guests are in residence; ferry services for emergency cases; commercial aviation, airports and security service businesses.

But beyond those we are though going to close down all other businesses for 2.5 days. This will be the afternoon (starting at noon) on Maundy Thursday 9th April, all of Good Friday (the 10th April) and Easter Sunday (12th April). 

Over this Easter period essential business that have been operating during this period of lockdown may operate on Saturday 11th April and Easter Monday 13th April.

I’ll say that again. All businesses will be closed from after ‘noon’ on Thursday. They will stay closed on Friday. They will open on Saturday, close on Sunday, open on Monday.

We do this for two reasons.  We have eight confirmed cases on the Island and we now have evidence of on-island transmission. In other words a small number of these individuals had no travel history and so they have been exposed on the Island. 

In a measured way we want to yet further put distance between our population at the places our population most come into contact with strangers, or indeed friends. At present the most likely places this happens are the businesses that are open.

The second reason is that while many have been able to have considerable time at home with family this has not been true for our front line services.

Police and Immigration Officers have not only been working extremely long hours securing the lockdown and curfew but have had the extra challenge of dealing with the interception of sloops and subsequent repatriations. Others have had long hours in other essential services where we have reduced staffing to the bare minimum.

Utilizing this Easter Holiday period gives us the opportunity to let these people take a breath and seriously reduce the traffic on the road – people won’t have the opportunity to visit a business because there will be no business to visit – and that will allow our front line services some space to refresh.  There will of course be no let-up in Policing, just matters will be more manageable for those on duty and our Marine Branch will remain - as it always is – primed and deployed.

These decisions were made by the National Emergency Operations Centre chaired by the Premier and myself and agreed in a Cabinet Paper. Regulations have been drafted and will be in force covering this change. Tonight we will have graphics up on Social Media explaining, and I’ll publish the text of this address.

We are giving notice this evening so again you can use the next day and a half to prepare sensibly. There’s no need to panic buy, or rush. You’ve all worked out for yourselves that the stores are well stocked and will continue to be so. Stay calm as they say, and carry on.

Now a look ahead. Given that almost every other country in the world has extended its lockdown period it’s not unreasonable for many to ask what the Cabinet’s view will be on this, when ours expires in the middle of next week.

The answer is that the decision has not been taken, the more data we have in making this decision the better. It will though be taken this week or weekend by Cabinet, and communicated early to you, so again if preparations are needed they can be done in a sensible measured way.

The Cabinet will be strongly guided by Health on this and we have asked for a very detailed paper laying out the case, for and against, systematically.

 All in all though I do want to say that myself, the Premier, the Commissioner and Minister of Health judge overall compliance has been extraordinarily good. We are up at around 90% or above and that does give us the very best chance of defeating this. TCI you are at the moment the envy of many others in the region for the way we are all holding together on this.

Away from this I do want to call out, as at times I have done in the past, a malicious use of fake news. Imagery circulated today suggested a huge Sloop was in Provo. It wasn’t.  For those that risk their lives out on the sea stopping this happening, and for the last eight months they have an extraordinary high success rate,  can you imagine how disheartening this is?

 But beyond just undermining people who I see as amongst our present national heroes, a few weeks ago this type of fake news would have been wrong – in a moral sense – because it was produced by a person that wanted to cause fear and generate hate. The difference today, under new law, is that this is now a criminal offence. As a result a Police Investigation has started; I look forward to a future prosecution.

Perhaps a final note to say that the Security Assistance Team the Premier and myself greeted yesterday are now settled in quarantine. Myself and the Team Leader, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Jones, had a three-way teleconference with his Commanding General today in the UK.

 The team are very clear on their initial task which is to properly understand the health capacity in all its forms we have in TCI so we can support and help build greater capacity against COVID19 while, at the same time, understanding how UK military capability – which comes in different forms –can support our anti-illegal immigration operations.

The two of course link together in terms of the fight against COVID19. They have a further set of sub-tasks such as Hurricane preparedness and support to building our Regiment but the two main tasks will dominate.

 That’s it for now TCI. Day 11 over, day 12 soon to begin. I’ve barely left the house for the last few days – and there’s a lot I miss – not least the beaches and the sea – I guess they will only be all the better when I can enjoy them again – which of course I will.

 Good night.

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MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #28

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12am on 7th April, 2020:

NO NEW DEATHS HAVE BEEN RECORDED OVER THE PAST 24hrs.

THE TOTAL CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASES REMAINS AT EIGHT (8). One confirmed positive case has passed away since confirmation and another case has since left the TCI. Proper infection prevention and control measures were utilized during this entire process.

The number of suspected cases of COVID-19 in the TCI has INCreased to FIVE (5). The new cases (2) are not persons that were in our quarantine figures. The total five suspected cases are persons experiencing relevant symptoms but no relevant travel history or pertinent contact. Two suspected cases are under hospital care.

All five persons had met the WHO case definition for a suspected case of COVID-19. Samples have been collected and sent for testing, and we are currently awaiting results.

The increase in suspected cases over the past 24hrs is as a result of persons presenting with relevant symptoms but no relevant travel history.

Persons under quarantine/observation (31)—The active confirmed cases (Confirmed positive cases in the TCI that are currently infected) (6), contacts of a confirmed case (6), the suspected cases (5), relatives/contacts of suspected cases (12), TCI residents returning from overseas (2). Persons under observation/quarantine are either not displaying symptoms or have not meet the case definition for COVID-19.

The decrease in quarantine/observation numbers is as a result of the expiration of the quarantine period for a considerable number of individuals (mainly TCI residents who returned from overseas); and the fact that a confirmed case and their relatives/contacts have left the TCI. All individuals and their contacts have been removed from quarantine status.

On 1st April, 2020 the case definition for COVID-19 was amended for TCI; a travel history is no longer needed to fit the criteria. Given the closure of the TCI borders it is likely that new case would be as a result of local transmission.

NO NEW TEST RESULTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED SINCE THE PREVIOUS UPDATE AS AT 6th APRIL, 2020. To date, a total of sixty-one (61) test results have been received, with fifty-three (53) confirmed negative and eight (8) positive confirmations. Persons confirmed not to have COVID-19, and their contacts, were moved from quarantined status and asked to continue following proper guidelines from the Ministry of Health. Those cases confirmed positive are in isolation with contact tracing aggressively continuing.

The Ministry of Health takes this opportunity to remind the public of offenses committed under section 18 of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 in regard to false Statements/information. You do not have to be the originator of the statement/information in order to be charged under the law.

Please note the following definitions:

  • A suspected person is someone who meets the case definition as outlined by WHO and CARPHA - and is experiencing symptoms.
  • A person in quarantine is an individual on island who has come from infected country(ies) or may have come in proximity to suspected or confirmed cases - and have not exhibited symptoms.

Let's continue to reduce the risk by: 1. Washing our hands for 20secs or more 2. Practicing social distancing 3. Prepare your home, office and other surroundings by following the advice of the Ministry of Health and other credible health agencies.

For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website, www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call our hotline numbers, (649) 232-9444 and (649) 333-0911, if you or someone you know has symptoms or signs of COVID-19.