Thoracic Specialist Dr Michelle Trotman

Three children are now warded at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility after they contracted the COVID-19 virus. While they were said to be doing well up to Saturday, health officials have admitted it is an alarming development.

Revealing this as she spoke during Saturday’s media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Thoracic Specialist Dr Michelle Trotman warned the population against becoming complacent as local cases continue to rise.

She described it as unfortunate that young children were now presenting with the virus.

Diagnosing the condition in the local children as Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), she said echocardiograms (ECGs) had been conducted on the three while support studies and input by paediatricians had been also been obtained.

MIS-C in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and feeling extra tired.

She said, “Unfortunately, these children have involvement of the heart. They are doing well but they do have involvement of the heart.”

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they do not know what causes MIS-C, they warned it can be serious, even deadly.

Trotman said with COVID-19 now impacting the paediatric population with them requiring hospitalisation, “It was relatively new for us.”

Urging adults to adhere to the new normal to don face masks, sanitize, and social distance as they move about in public, Trotman said behavioural changes observed in malls and at places where in-house dining has been allowed were among the main culprits.

“What were are seeing, unfortunately, is that people are partaking of this but not sanitizing appropriately,” she said.

To people who believe that the mall’s cleaning staff ought to wipe down everywhere, Trotman said, “This disease is about us taking personal responsibility. Walk with your sanitizer. Walk with a tissue. Wipe where you just came from. Make it better for the person who is coming…make it better for our country.”

Deyalsingh: Paediatric population not immune to virus

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Terrence Deyalsingh, Minister of Health

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the paediatric population was not immune to the ravages of the virus.

“They are not brushing it off as we thought they would have two months ago and what is coming out of all the data now is that young children, especially the school-age children and young adults between the ages of 15 to 29 to 40, are now the new super spreaders.

“These are the populations that are spreading the virus more and more, and more importantly, taking it home to the elderly where they will bear the brunt of it and they will die,” he said.

COVID stats

Saturday’s 4 pm clinical update revealed 16 new cases had been recorded during 24 hours,while the deaths increased to 122.

Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds said even though cluster cases continued to be recorded among the prison population and formed part of the daily statistics, if this number were excluded from the overall numbers, “Then we’ve held fairly steady with respect to the number of cases over the last couple of weeks.”

Pointing out that approximately 19 cases had been recorded in Tobago within the past two weeks ago, Hinds said there were two scenarios to consider—where asymptomatic people suppressing their symptoms had been moving between the two islands.

He said this underscored the importance of staying put when you are ill as this movement had resulted in Tobago’s caseload increasing once again.

Deyalsingh once again appealed to people to invest in proper behaviours now so they would be alive to welcome the new year.

He petitioned religious leaders to again caution their congregations about public gatherings and keep their family circles small and tight.