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CMO Dr Roshan Parasram

The Omicron variant of concern is now officially in community transmission locally and is the dominant strain in circulation, according to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram yesterday.

It comes just over a month after the first community case of the variant was discovered in T&T on December 19.

To date, there are 56 Omicron cases detected in the country, 28 of which came from among the population.

“We’re basically at a stage where you find that the Omicron variant is now seemingly the dominant variant and Dr Hinds (Avery) would have indicated the last time he was here that’s fairly well in the community so we can safely say we’re at a community spread phase,” Parasram said.

He said just over two weeks ago, Omicron accounted for 25 per cent of the genetic sequences conducted by the team at the University of the West Indies.

“Last week, of samples sent for sequencing, 56 per cent were Omicron, 46 (sic) were Delta and a few were residual Gamma cases,” he said.

Citing international epidemiological data, Parasram noted that Omicron takes between a month and six weeks to create a spike in COVID-19 cases followed by a decrease.

“We will see how that…takes over into Trinidad and see what happens over the coming weeks,” he said.

He noted that these next few weeks will be critical as is in many countries.

“For many countries, the next few weeks remain critical for health system workers and health systems because we have, in Trinidad and Tobago especially, our system is still full and we want to make sure that that balances (and) stays the same and we can cope with the number of cases that occur,” he said. (Rishard Khan)