enfrhtptes

MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #32

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12am on 11th April, 2020:

THE TCI CONTINUES TO RECORD NO NEW COVID-19 DEATHS.

IN THE PAST 24hrs, THE TCI HAS RECORDED A NEW POSITIVE CASE. THIS BRINGS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASES TO NINE (9). One confirmed positive case is currently under hospital care, another case has passed away since confirmation and one case has since left the TCI. Proper infection prevention and control measures were utilized during this entire process.

THE NEW POSITIVE CASE IS AN INDIVIDUAL THAT WAS ALREADY QUARANTINED AS A SUSPECTED CASE.

The number of suspected cases of COVID-19 in the TCI REMAINS UNCHANGED AT NINE (9). THIS IS DUE TO AN INDIVIDUAL IN QUARANTINE/OBSERVATION DEVELOPING RELEVANT SYMPTOMS WITH NO RECENT TRAVEL HISTORY. The nine suspected cases are persons (eight 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 REMAIN UNCHANGED AT 68. This includes: The active confirmed cases (patients in the TCI that are currently infected) (7), contacts of confirmed cases (10), the suspected cases (9), persons under investigation (3), relatives/contacts of suspected cases/persons under investigation (37), 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.

A TEST RESULT RECEIVED OVER THE PAST 24hrs HAS CONFIRMED A SUSPECTED CASE TO BE POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. To date, a total of sixty-two (62) test results have been received, with fifty-three (53) confirmed to be negative and eight (9) 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.

Confirmed COVID-19 Inpatient at TCI Hospital

JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM TCI HOSPITAL AND TCI GOVERNMENT

(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Friday, 10 April, 2020): The Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital wishes to advise the general public that a patient who was recently admitted and under clinical management and isolation at Cheshire Hall Medical Centre has tested positive for COVID-19.

The male resident in his 30’s was admitted to the facility on April 3rd 2020 with severe acute respiratory infection and has no co-morbidities. He also had no recent travel history. The inpatient was transported to the emergency department via ambulance on the date of admission using established protocols.

The male met the case definition of COVID-19 and was classified as a suspected case. A sample was collected and tested. Strict infection prevention and containment procedures continue to be enforced across the medical centre and were followed as a precaution in this case.

The now confirmed COVID-19 male remains in stable condition and is receiving supportive clinical care. He has been notified and is the only confirmed COVID-19 patient currently under clinical management and isolation at the facility. TCI Hospital and the Ministry of Health continue to provide support and guidance to the relatives of the affected person given the diagnosis. Due to patient confidentiality, no further details can be released.

The positive test result will be reflected in the April 11th 2020 TCI COVID-19 National Dashboard. Pending the receipt of any other case test results over the next 24 hours, the number of suspected cases will decrease by one (1) and the number of confirmed/positive test results will increase by one (1) due to this specific case.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government - Ministry of Health Team commenced immediate contact tracing and persons identified in the process are required to undergo screening and quarantine as deemed necessary and as a risk mitigation measure.

Persons are reminded to contact the Ministry of Health hotlines if they are experiencing a cough, fever and/or shortness of breath via 649 333 0911 or 649 232 9444 for screening and guidance.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH’S COVID-19 UPDATE #31

The Ministry of Health would like to advise the public that as at 12am on 10th April, 2020:

THE TCI CONTINUES TO RECORD NO NEW COVID-19 DEATHS OR NEW POSITIVE CASES. 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 NINE (9) SINCE OUR LAST UPDATE AS AT 09-04-2020. The nine suspected cases are persons (eight 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 OVER THE PAST 24hrs TO 68. This includes: The active confirmed cases (patients in the TCI that are currently infected) (6), contacts of a confirmed case (6), the suspected cases (9), persons under investigation (4), relatives/contacts of suspected cases/persons under investigation (41), 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.

The increase in quarantine/observation numbers is primarily as a result of the Public Health Team contact tracing efforts

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. To date, a total of sixty-one (61) test results have been received, with fifty-three (53) confirmed to be 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.

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