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The Couva Hospital.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of four more people, the Ministry of Health reported yesterday.

In its evening update, the ministry said an elderly man with pre-existing medical conditions and a woman were the two latest victims of the virus. This brought the total number of deaths from the virus to 19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

Earlier on in the day, the ministry said two elderly men had also died. Both men, the ministry said, had pre-existing medical conditions.

The ministry said an additional 42 patients had also tested positive for the virus, taking the total new cases to 78. Overall, the ministry said some 1,554 people have now tested positive for the virus while there are currently 907 active cases within the parallel health system.

In its 10 am update, the ministry also said 675 people were now in home quarantine under the monitoring by county medical officers of health (CMOH).

Meanwhile, a woman who spent three weeks in quarantine after her 13-year-old son was diagnosed with COVID is now unsure whether she will be allowed back to work.

The mother told Guardian Media said she has been calling the ministry hoping to get a medical certificate to provide to her employer so she could resume working.

With her bills piling up and her rent due at the end of the month, the desperate mother said she was hoping for a speedy resolution.

She said after her son was diagnosed, she was swabbed and although she did not test positive she was placed in the facility with him and 33 other COVID-positive patients. Her prayers were somewhat answered when the Government announced the release of asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms. However, she said she was never provided with sick leave, a fit for work letter or the results of the tests she did.

“I was swabbed twice and at this point, I’m not even concerned about the results. It’s much better being home than state quarantine. Obviously, I am definitely more comfortable. I don’t have to share a bathroom and kitchen with other COVID positive patients. That can be uncomfortable because those things are personal space,” she said.

She said she was now trying to get her son settled so he can finally write the SEA exam.

“I am starting to make preparations for myself to go back out to work. We have been told that we have seven more days to quarantine and they left us hanging like that. Now we are calling around to get sick leave and fit for work.”

She said she called the County Medical Officer of Health and was advised to call the Surveillance Unit but nobody was able to provide the documentation to show she was quarantined for 21 days already.

“Each Ministry is passing the torch and you are not getting anywhere. Upon discharge, I was told to quarantine for seven more days. I told them my employer is not accepting it and the nurse said let your employer know if they have a problem, contact the ministry.”

She said as a salesperson, her salary depends on her ability to sell.

Contacted yesterday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said he was unaware of the exact process for applying for sick leave and medical documentation. However, he promised to look into the matter.