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The country’s COVID-19 death count now stands at 39 after two more people died of the virus yesterday, the Ministry of Health confirmed in its latest updates.

The deaths were an elderly man and woman, both of whom had comorbidities. The deaths took the toll to 31 since the country entered the second phase of COVID-19 infections, which began on July 20 with case 139.

Since September 4 there have now been 16 deaths recorded. The highest number of deaths recorded in a day occurred on September 1 when five people died.

Asked about the recent incidence of fatalities at the Ministry of Health’s virtual press conference on Monday, Technical Director of the ministry’s epidemiology division, Dr Avery Hinds, said: “What we’re seeing now is basically the reach of the virus getting into those vulnerable populations as community spread continues.”

The number of active cases also climbed yesterday to 1,609 after 114 cases were recorded. However, the ministry noted this was not representative of a 24-hour increase, as it included the results of swabs taken as early as September 28. The new cases bring the total number of people to test positive for the virus since the first case was recorded on March 12 up to 2,391. Discharges also went up to 173 after nine people were released from state care.

The total number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the UWI and other local sites for testing for COVID-19 as of yesterday stood at 25,796.

President Weekes tests negative

Days after going into self-quarantine after her aide-de-camp tested positive for COVID-19, President Paula-Mae Weekes has tested negative for the virus.

The President received her result yesterday after being swabbed by Ministry of Health officials following news that her aide-de-camp had tested positive for the virus.

The aide-de-camp, who served as master of ceremonies for the swearing-in of the new cabinet and the appointment of the leader of the opposition, tested positive over the weekend. This prompted Weekes to enter self-quarantine pending testing.

In a release yesterday, the Office of the President confirmed Weekes had tested negative. It added that testing of staff was still ongoing and that all buildings on the compound of President’s House had been sanitised.

— Rishard Khan