Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has said that T&T’s parallel health system has reached its capacity and for the next few weeks will not be able to take in any new patients for COVID-19 related cases.

“Our parallel health system is basically filled at this time and will be filled for the next two weeks because we have over 200 persons coming in from Jamaica, Barbados, other groups. We have quarantined 306 persons on the cruise ship. We will not be able to accommodate big groups. Let us hope that no one presents with positive tests because if we get many positive tests it means a facility cannot be turned around in two weeks,” he said speaking at a virtual press conference on Saturday.

Dr Maryam Richards, Principal Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, who was also at the press conference, explained that the “parallel health system” was set up to deal specifically with COVID-19 related cases.

She indicated that to date, 616 returning nationals and 957 people in total have been treated under the parallel health care system. On Friday, in the space of 12 hours, they facilitated 336 people. She said the 306 returning nationals on the Royal Caribbean Cruise was the largest intake of returning nationals since the COVID-19 pandemic started. 29 T&T nationals returned from Venezuela on Friday night. Richards also said there was an additional person who has gone into quarantine at a state-supervised health facility but did not give more details.

Richards said the fact this large number of people are being treated reflects the high levels of efficiency that the Ministry of Health is displaying.

Replying to media questions, Deyalsingh said at this time they are not considering having people quarantined at home as there is no assurance they will stay at home.

While he said T&T has done well to keep the case count low, he added that the global cases are “staggering” six months after the first case was registered in China with almost half a million deaths. This should be “sobering” news for T&T, he said.

He said COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the global and local economy.

Meanwhile, he said the Ministry of Health has hired 526 doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals some of whom were without jobs.

COVID-19 stats in T&T

He also gave updated COVID-19 related statistics:

*The number of tests conducted has been 3,486

*The number of repeat tests has been 510

*The number of positive cases has been 117

*Eight deaths have been confirmed so far