enfrhtptes

MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #19

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12pm on 30th March, 2020:

Over the past 24hrs the TCI COVID-19 statistics have remained relatively unchanged. The number of confirmed positive cases remained at five (5). 

TCI suspected cases of COVID-19 remained unchanged since the last update as 12pm 29th March, 2020: The eight suspected cases are TCI residents returning from countries with local transmission and contacts of a confirmed case (8). All eight persons met the WHO case definition for a suspected case of COVID-19, thus they are experiencing symptoms. Samples have been collected and sent for testing.

Persons under quarantine/observation (302)—The confirmed cases (5), contacts of a confirmed case (18), possible contact of a confirmed case (14), the suspected cases (8), persons under investigation for having contact with persons travelling from highly affected countries (1), relatives/contacts of suspected cases (24), persons travelling from highly affected countries — UK, Austria & Spain (5), TCI residents (227). Persons under observation/quarantine are either not displaying symptoms or have not meet the case definition for COVID-19.

The increase in quarantine/observation numbers over the past 24hrs was the result of contact tracing where contacts of confirmed positive cases were quarantined.

No new test results have been received over the past 24hrs. To date, a total of nineteen (19) test results have been received, with fourteen (14) confirmed negative and five (5) 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: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE CURFEW AND LOCKDOWN

Good evening Turks and Caicos, it’s the Governor speaking.

A Sunday evening update for you. We’ve had three night curfews and we’ve now had two ‘day time lockdowns’. Weekends are traditionally slow here, so the next step is how we transition into what, at any normal time, would be a working week.  

Psychologically, please continue to imagine there is no change as Sunday becomes Monday. For the vast majority of the population you have a slow start and a reflective day ahead of you tomorrow.

The Premier’s day of prayer surely helps set the tone. For those for whom faith is important take the opportunity afforded to you tomorrow to hear, on the radio, from many pastors representing many different traditions of the Christian faith, phoning in, in English Creole and Spanish. One of the great hopes of this period is we come out of it more united than we began. Tomorrow - with the whole Christian tradition coming together virtually on the Island - is a good starting point. 

Away from this, since you have time, you may want to think about the number of people you have met over the last 14 days. Try doing the contact tracing on yourself, for yourself.  Jot the number down.  Add these together with all the contact your family has had and find the total. Just from doing that I hope you’ll be able to see the extraordinary decrease we now have - across the Islands - in terms of risk.  This big thing we have done has a big reward attached.  Stay the course. 

When we make a mistake worth saying we did. The advice last night in the Premier’s address wasn’t where we presently are around our approach to outside exercise although we might well get there. Had I been speaking, I could easily have said the same; there’s quite a lot to think about just now based on different contingencies. We are working at great pace and - in practicing what we preach - we are now working remotely.

I think TCI can draw the right conclusion that if the one thing the Premier and myself have managed to, inadvertently, say differently over the last weeks, relates to whether you can or can’t exercise in your yard, then we probably are as tight as any Government is in the world. Not to excuse - we both hate it when it happens - but I hope that reassures.

So for complete clarity: the rules are these, agreed between the Premier, myself and Commissioner and underpinned by law. You may exercise outside so long as you are alone or with a member of your family unit presently living under the same roof. You may only be out for a total of 1.5 hours per day between 5am and 9am and 5pm and 7pm. And it must be exercise that’s obviously physical exercise that you can justify to the Police. 

Vigorous walking, running, cycling all make sense. We really need you to use your common sense and judgement. Don’t interact with others when you are out - not one. The good news is that the Police report people are being responsible and this is not something that people are taking advantage of - in fact far from it. Let’s keep it that way because what the Premier said last night is her, and my, fall-back position. 

While we want tomorrow to feel as it did today, we also need to put in place the very minimum needed to allow the country to function. It’s not an uninteresting exercise working that out. So a central National Security Team has been working through those who will have a slightly different ability to be on the roads. At present we’ve managed to limit that - excluding the Police and Uniformed services  - to around 2.5%. 

It’s been a big task and we needed a relatively small team to work together on it to ensure consistency. We will continue to work late into the night.  Our aim was to reply to every employer and carer - but even working through the night - trying to make good decisions and contacting many directly to ensure we understood circumstances - we won’t achieve that. We’ve broken the back of it though. If you have not heard from us you do not have exemption to be out tomorrow unless security guard, more on that in a minute. 

Those who have been agreed, will, from dawn tomorrow, be on a centralised database that is held at 911. Make sure you have photo ID and make sure you understand exactly what the exemption means for you; normally it covers the movement from your home to work, and return, at times linked to your employment.  It’s dynamic and over the coming days it can be added to or subtracted from.  We stared with some very straightforward principles:  

The big providers of those services that truly are essential: supermarkets, electricity, water distribution, communication providers, fuel services, ferry services, air services, and a small number of public servants were agreed but generally with much reduced lists than originally submitted.  If you are an employer in this group and haven’t heard by daylight tomorrow, resend your email; we will prioritise but I do think we’ve caught this.

We took a big decision on Restaurants and Takeaways and they will not be permitted to open, yet. We need to understand both the spread of the virus over the next few days and the amount of footfall on the streets and roads during this period before we make decisions. The Police have issued their own release on this. If you identify a Takeaway is open, then please dial 911. They will have lost their chance, instantly, to be considered when we review later.

In terms of those offering individual care to those who require it, we’ve agreed - but with very strict conditions lined to routes, dates and times - the vast majority of requests. Worth saying a very big thank you to those who care for those who need it - it’s been genuinely heart-warming to see how families do support the most vulnerable here. If you are on the exemption list, because you ‘care’, you are by definition meeting the most vulnerable to COVID 19, so please overdose on all the advice that’s been given about protecting yourself, to protect them. 

In terms of security guards, the major security providers have their answer. We have not been able to issue answers for all those who employ individuals or very small numbers. For the next couple of days, the Police will provide a grace period, to those in security uniform, who can show they are travelling from their home - to their place of work - at a time that makes sense in terms of normal shift changes. We will tighten that up as quickly as we can. AT the moment it’s a matter of volume

In terms of hotels, our position is that - if staff are living as a community in a hotel - they need to remain as that community. Within it we ask employers to be hyper responsible in terms of social distancing but also breaking groups down into manageable units so if one gets infected not all get infected.

Our hotels are excellent at planning and logistics and we need as much thought going onto this as they can.  We are very wary of allowing movement in and out of these almost self-contained communities - certainly for the first week or so - so we have done all we can through limited exemptions and encouragement to seriously reduce connectivity.

Construction is to stop. Period. We can review but if the Police find any construction site open, arrests can be made. Construction - except for construction linked to the preparation of facilities to support our emergency preparations - are not an essential service. 

Where there are groups who can organise as a group we’ve asked them to make recommendations to us not as individuals but as a collective so the role they must fulfil as a community – to the community - can be delivered in the safest possible way to them and others.

For those who have raised requests regarding visiting property - of which there were hundreds - it can only be done in responding to an emergency. 

For the next few days - similar to Takeaways - Do-it-Centre on Provo and Grand Turk will be closed but they can be called out by essential services, repairs to Hospitals would be an example.  I hope you can see what we are doing here.

We are all in this together and one of the most encouraging things I’ve witnessed have been the pubic clearly using their judgement, the Police using theirs, and the police and Community working as one to get through this.  

There’s going to be the odd person, not that hard to spot, who will be arrested and car confiscated because they are a danger to themselves and others. But a common consensus is now emerging that to get through this we have to do it as a self-regulating, community in deep cooperation with the Police.  With laws that underpin certainly but where personal judgement plays its part.

This might be another marvellous change that occurs during this period. The building of trust that we all support each other - the Police and the community - in getting through this period together. 

I was really struck when I first got here by the greeting: ‘All’s well’ - I really liked it - and thought how neat it was. Just tonight, given everything, “All is well”. Day two is drawing to a close, day three is about to begin. Let’s make sure we can barely tell the difference.

Good night Turks and Caicos, be safe.

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MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #18b

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12pm on 29th March, 2020:

As reported in release #18, yesterday evening the TCI recorded another confirmed positive case (1) of the COVID-19 novel Coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed positive cases to five (5). The positive case was already in quarantine and has been informed of their test results. The Ministry of Health would like to thank the public for the calm and understanding displayed during this public health emergency.

There was a decrease in suspected cases, as the TCI recorded 8 suspected cases of COVID-19: The eight suspected cases are TCI residents returning from countries with local transmission and contacts of a confirmed case (8). All eight persons met the WHO case definition for a suspected case of COVID-19, thus they are experiencing symptoms. Samples have been collected and sent for testing.

The decrease in suspected cases is due to test results received, where a suspected case has now been confirmed positive for COVID-19.

Persons under quarantine/observation (297)—The confirmed cases (5), contacts of a confirmed case (13), possible contact of a confirmed case (14), the suspected cases (8), persons under investigation for having contact with persons travelling from highly affected countries (1), relatives/contacts of suspected cases (24), persons travelling from highly affected countries — UK, Austria & Spain (5), TCI residents (227). Persons under observation/quarantine are either not displaying symptoms or have not meet the case definition for COVID-19.

The increase in quarantine/observation numbers over the past 24hrs was the result of contact tracing where relatives/contacts of a suspected case were quarantined.

A total of sixteen (19) test results have been received to date, with fourteen (14) confirmed negative and five (5) 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.

CHANGES TO THE PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CLINIC SCHEDULES NATIONWIDE

The Ministry of Health Agriculture Sports and Human Services wishes to advise the public about the change in the Primary Health Care clinic hours commencing on March 30th 2020 for the next 21 days. 

Clinic hours:

Grand Turk - 8:00 am to 12 noon, Monday to Friday.

Middle Caicos and Salt Cay - 8:00 am to 12 noon, Monday to Friday.  Emergencies only after closing time.

South Caicos and North Caicos - 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday to Friday.  Emergencies only after closing time.

Providenciales - 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday to Friday Blue Hills Community Clinic and Cheshire Hall Medical Center. Extended clinic hours at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday and 9:00 am to 12:00 noon Saturday. 

The following changes also applies:

  • The number of persons seen at the clinics during this time will be reduced to avoid crowded waiting areas, thereby ensuring social distancing is practiced. Strict triage of clients will be enforced. Persons experiencing coughs and fever should contact the department through the hotlines and avoid approaching health care facilities without prior notification.
  • Child Health Clinics: No more than 10 mothers will be allowed in the waiting area at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center clinic on immunization days.  Only babies who are due their 6 months, 1 year and 2-year vaccine will be seen in the clinic. 
  1. The mobile clinic will visit the community for immunization for children of other ages in Providenciales.  No more than 3 mothers with infants will be allowed in the waiting room in the other primary care clinics.  Only the child that needs to be immunized must come to the clinic along with their parent.

 

  • Prenatal clinics will be reduced to High Risk patients only; these clients will be contacted and given an appointment. 
  • No routine medicals will be done during this time.
  • Clients are encouraged to ensure refill prescriptions are obtained when they are on their last week’s supply of medication.
  • Any health concern can be discussed via telephone for further guidance.
  • Clinic Contact Numbers are:
  • Salt Cay 232-6970
  • Grand Turk 338-54617
  • South Caicos 232-3216
  • Middle Caicos 232-6145
  • Bottle Creek 342-6857
  • Kew 946-7397
  • Blue Hills 946-5613
  • Cheshire Hall 338-5474
  • Clients can contact the Health Hotline at 232-9444 or 333-0911 between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm for COVID19 related advice. Alternatively, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/ for up to date information and guidance.

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH UPDATE: ADDITIONAL TEST RESULTS RECEIVED #18

This afternoon, 28th March 2020, three (3) additional results were received from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory. Of these results, one (1) was positive and the other two (2) were negative. The positive case brings the total number of positive cases in TCI to five (5). The affected individual has been in quarantine and has been informed of their result. The Public Health team will continue to follow up with this individual and their contacts. This individual had a history of recent travel to an affected country.

The Ministry of Health’s dashboard will be updated to reflect these results tomorrow. 

The Ministry of Health continues to advise the general public to practice enhanced hygiene and social distancing at this time. Everyone has a role to play in keeping one another safe. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, for 20 seconds each time, and practice cough and sneeze etiquette by covering your cough/sneeze. 

If you experience cough, fever or shortness of breath, please call the Ministry of Health hotlines on 333 0911 or 232 9444 for advice and support. Continue to visit the Ministry of Health’s website https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/ as your reliable source for further information.