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Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to decrease, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has admitted that very few people are going to public health centres and emergency departments to get tested for the virus.

Giving an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at yesterday’s Ministry of Health press conference, Parasram said this was what they had picked up recently.

Asked if citizens displaying flu-like symptoms had been showing up at health centres and emergency departments to be tested for the virus as the ministry seeks to ramp up testing, Parasram said the number of people attending the health care settings had decreased significantly in the last two weeks.

“About a week ago, we noticed 67 persons coming out for acute viral illness for the entire country…in one week. Which is less than ten per day.”

Parasram said they had also noticed a significant drop in patients seeking treatment for lower respiratory tract infections, gastroenteritis and common colds at public hospitals. These, he said, were some of the positive spin-offs from people practicing proper hygiene, eating healthier and staying indoors.

The CMO also gave an update on the 33 nationals who returned from Barbados and were placed in quarantine at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua.

He said the group had showed no symptoms of the virus and were re-swabbed by health care workers on Sunday. Once the results come back negative, Parasram said they would be discharged today.

Parasram said the group of 69 people who returned from Suriname last Friday and were placed in quarantine at the UWI campus in Debe were also swabbed on their second day.

Parasram also said while there were reports of two strains of the virus in some foreign countries, T&T did not have the capacity to determine how many strains we have.

In the future, he said “we can send samples to CDC for sub-typing but with our caseload being so low it may not be necessary.”

He also said whenever the borders are eventually reopened on a phased basis, he expects self-quarantine will be applied for nationals and non-nationals depending on the country they come from to avoid mingling. State quarantine will also apply for a traveller if they are deemed high risk.