Members of the public gather between Henry and Charlotte Streets, on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

The Ministry of Health is preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases within the coming days as the country as the Christmas holiday season comes to an end.

According to the Principal Medical Officer of Institutions, Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, the ministry is using a three-pronged approach to deal with the upcoming spike. This includes allocating necessary resources in the parallel healthcare system, increasing the availability of vaccines and encouraging public compliance to the health protocols.

While the ministry is exploring the expansion of the parallel healthcare system, Dr Abdool-Richards warned this is not a permanent solution.

“I would like to stress that resources, especially human resources, continue to be very limited. We continue to be stretched,” she said.

“We have increased our vaccination drive, there are boosters that are now available but the onus is now on the population and on our public to have an exercise responsibility.”

The country is on high alert after two untraceable cases of the Omicron variant was detected among the population. However, Dr Abdool-Richards said it is not yet in community spread. She said any future developments will be communicated to the public.

“As of today, there are 12 cases of the Omicron variant in Trinidad and Tobago. The variant is not in community transmission as of today, however, the Ministry of Health continues to do testing and to monitor the situation with respect to the confirmed cases of the variant and in the event of additional cases, we do provide all information that we can via the press releases,” she said.

In the lead up to the Christmas holidays, on Christmas Eve the country recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 37 deaths.

In fact, December 2021 has gone down as the month with the most COVID infections and deaths.

December recorded 20,538 cases and 711 deaths.

Other medical professionals and even the T&T Medical Association have warned about a spike in COVID-19 cases after the holidays, with the Association saying it was “inevitable.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health said he was pleased with the uptake in first doses since the Prime Minister announced that the public service will be made a quasi Safe Zone.

“I don’t have it (the vaccination figures) disaggregated by public officers…there has been an increase, a significant increase but a significant increase from a low number so I’m not getting carried away with the percentage increase but I’m happy for it,” said Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

“We are averaging now, last week, 14, 15, 16 hundred a day. Those figures we have not seen since middle of October so that’s a good sign but we can still do a lot better and as far as the public officers are concerned, to make it easy for them we have set up two separate sites for them.”

Yesterday the country, recorded 22 COVID deaths and 338 new infections, with two deaths in Tobago and ten new cases being reported there.