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Caura Hospital in Tunapuna which is being used as a COVID-19 treatment facility.

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The Caura Hospital was cleared of all of it COVID-19 patients on Wednesday night after they were transferred to the step-down centre at the Home of Football in Couva.

“The nine patients there were de-escalated to the Home of Football,” Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh confirmed during yesterday’s daily COVID-19 press conference.

Deyalsingh said this left only 23 COVID-19 patients hospitalised, all at the Couva Hospital, adding he expected that number to lessen by yesterday afternoon.

“In the ICU, there are no patients in ICU. In the high dependency unit there are none. There are no patients currently on ventilators. All 23 patients in Couva are mild, asymptomatic,” he said.

“Eleven of those 23 have been identified for further de-escalation later on today if it goes well.”

Four more people who were treated for COVID-19 were discharged on Wednesday night, while the ministry confirmed that by yesterday afternoon four others had been discharged—three from the Couva Hospital and one from the Home of Football.

This raised the total number of discharged patients up to 45 by 4 pm.

While the officials at the press conference ignored questions relating to talkshow host Ian Alleyne, he himself went live on social media from the Home of Football in Couva confirming he was among the nine Caura patients moved there. However, he complained about his room, the air conditioning being switched and food served to him. He also claimed there was no running water in the room.

However, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram yesterday advised that fresh air, as opposed to air-conditioning, was recommended for patients recovering from COVID.

“All the facilities really have some area where you can really go outside. We have encouraged actually not using the air conditioning in certain facilities and trying to get fresh air in those environments. As we have seen with tuberculosis in the past and respiratory disease in general, fresh air and sunlight have a lot to do with in terms of the progression of illness and the speed of which you recover,” he said.

“So we have taken those things into consideration in choosing the sites, persons are allowed to go outside and do exercise. Certain areas have little gardens as well. So we’re looking at it holistically.”

The CMO also confirmed there had been a few persons who were returned to hospitals from step-down centres before.

“Yes we have had a few patients that would have been step-down and then have to return back to the hospital, for medical reasons, meaning that they would have had some sort of medical issue that accorded prior to going to the step-down facility and they were taken back to Couva and Caura as the need be,” he said, saying three or four patients have had to do this.

Parasram also confirmed posthumous testing had been done on some people to confirm if they may have contracted COVID-19 despite not previously being confirmed as positive.

“In terms of the posthumous testing, first of all the Forensic Science Centre was actually sending testing all along to CARPHA. They have sent 69 samples so far of patients that would have died for testing for COVID-19. All of them were negative.

“We sent one from Tobago, a couple days ago. I think that one was negative as well. That person would have died at home. So that one was negative. So 70, in terms of testing of persons that would have died,” he said.