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Loyse Vincent

As of yesterday, Tobago’s COVID- 19 mortality figures stood at 45 after two additional people succumbed to COVID-19 related illnesses on the island.

Both were reportedly males 61 and 72 with comorbidities.

And while there were only four news COVID-19 cases on the island, within 24 hours yesterday, health officials have appealed to residents to remain vigilant especially after the island’s rates infection and deaths reached record highs for the month of July.

The increase is being attributed to the presence of the Gamma Variant on the island.

According to County Medical Officer of Health Dr Tiffany Hoyte, the island recorded a total of 145 cases for 2020.

However, for period January to June 2021 the island recorded 786 cases and for the month of July alone there was a total of 570 cases.

Health Officials have also noted that although there were reports of a “cluster” of cases at the Scarborough Regional Hospital reported during the month of July, the majority of cases in Tobago are being linked to community spread.

According to Medical Chief of Staff Dr Victor Wheeler most of the increase is community and in many cases unknown origins of contact.”

He said this is more telling of behavioural impact in the communities and our homes.

This is of particular concern as of the 438 active COVID-19 cases on the island 395 persons are in home isolation.

However, Wheeler said that the island’s healthcare system is “holding up” under the drastic increase in cases.

“Of the 89 beds spread over all our facilities 59 is available. We hope never to have to use those, we don’t want people to be sick.” he said.

According to the daily statistics released from the TRHA, six of the 35 COVID-19 cases in State facilities are currently warded in the ICU unit where an additional bed was added.

With the confirmed presence of the Gamma variant on the island Wheeler appealed to people to “get vaccinated to protect the people you love and wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands.”

As of yesterday, Tobago recorded 9740 persons fully vaccinated while 13,919 received the first dose. Health officials have set a target of 26,000 vaccinated for heard immunity.