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Since the start of August, over 400 people have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the Ministry of Health’s release confirming an additional 23 people had tested positive for the virus yesterday evening, the number of people who had tested positive in August stood at 419. There are currently 436 active cases, according to the Ministry of Health’s release, and some 307 of those cases were confirmed in the week spanning August 11 to August 17.

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, Prof Dr Terence Seemungal, a specialist in respiratory illness, said the spike was expected as it was the nature of the coronavirus.

“The spike in the cases, well it is anticipated that when you open up, you could get a spike in cases that has happened here. New Zealand had no cases for a long long time and then suddenly they have a spike, so it’s a feature of this virus,” Seemungal said.

Seemungal said he also expects numbers to rise in the next two weeks despite the measures implemented by Government for the next month, before a fall in the numbers.

“I would expect at the end of the two weeks, people should not be dismayed, you would expect that with the lockdown, even when you’re lockdown people have already been infected and it’s gonna become manifest in the next two weeks. So you’re gonna see an increase in cases but after that, I would expect to see a fall,” he said.

On August 12, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram had warned the nation to expect a spike in cases, mere days after Trinidad and Tobago had recorded 50 cases on August 8. That figure of 50 was, at that point, the largest number of cases recorded in a day in T&T, eclipsing the 40 positive tests received on March 21 from returning nationals who had been aboard the Costa Favolosa cruise ship.

One day after Parasram’s announcement that there would be a spike came the new record number of positive cases with 78 confirmed on August 13, quickly followed by another sizeable figure of 71 on August 15.

Before the rise of COVID-19 cases in August, T&T had only recorded a double-figure jump in cases once since the Camp Balandra surge—on March 28—with 10 cases.

These figures, however, are affected by the recent delayed reporting of results to citizens, with the ministry placing advisories that some of the samples would have initially been taken over a week before the confirmed result being announced.

According to statistics released by the ministry yesterday, from April 26 to May 29 no new cases were reported in T&T, while there were lulls in reported cases between May 31 to June 13 and June 15 to June 25. From May 29 to July 22, all of the cases reported had been labelled as imported cases usually linked to returning nationals.

August 1 4 cases

August 2 9 cases

August 3 0 cases

August 4 12 cases

August 5 5 cases

August 6 11 cases

August 7 15 cases

August 8 50 cases

August 9 4 cases

August 10 2 cases

August 11 14 cases

August 12 31 cases

August 13 78 cases

August 14 22 cases

August 15 71 cases

August 16 55 cases

August 17 36 cases