Over the weekend, the general public would have noted on the Covid-19 dashboard that there was a significant increase in the number of recoveries from Covid-19. The Public Health Team had, until recently, largely depended on a manual system for tracking COVID-19 cases in the TCI. This process ran seamlessly at the beginning of the epidemic when the number of daily cases reported was minimal. However, as the number of cases and the associated contact tracing work increased the manual process of data collection became difficult to maintain. While it did not impact the tracking of positive cases, it did cause a delay in the reporting of persons being released from quarantine and persons being considered recovered.
To facilitate more efficient data collection, and to prevent delays in reporting, the World Health Organization’s Go.data system, an electronic data processing system, is being implemented throughout the islands. The Go.data system is an outbreak investigation tool for field collection during public health emergencies. It includes functionality for case investigation and contact follow up and is designed for flexibility in the field. With the new system, contact tracers throughout TCI are equipped with tablets for the purpose of data collection and up-to-date reporting. This system is already being utilized in Providenciales and Grand Turk, following a brief training session, and will be rolled out to the other islands throughout the week.
As a part of the data transfer process, i.e. from the old system to the new system, an exercise was undertaken to update all case and contact records. This led to a significant increase in the number of recoveries being reported and a significant reduction in the quarantine numbers being reported. It is important to note that with the up-to-date recording, facilitated by the Go.data system, releases/recoveries will be reported in a timelier manner. It is also important to note that all recoveries were reported in accordance with the new policy which was recently adopted by the Government. Persons have been released in accordance with this policy, however there was a lag in updating and reporting active cases due to the high workload of the public health teams.
The Ministry of Health wishes to acknowledge the hard work of the National Epidemiology and Research Unit who were integral in implementing the Go.data system as well as the Public Health Team for their continued efforts in the field. This positive development will greatly assist in timely data collection and reporting going forward.