Roshan Parasram

Despite the backlog of samples for COVID-19 testing being cleared almost one month ago, several people are still experiencing delays in receiving their test results. To treat with this, the Ministry of Health has created an email service which citizens awaiting results can use to enquire about it; [email protected]

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said at a virtual news conference yesterday the email address “gives the population a direct line of communication with the Trinidad Public Health Lab.”

“(The email address) would be looked at every day during the week- Monday to Friday- at the Trinidad Public Health Lab. So persons are assigned once we have an email with all the information on it, they would look into the database and see if we can get a result. That result would be sent to the CMOH offices if it has not already been…and the CMOH office would call that individual to give the result confidentially,” he said.

The email, he said should contain your name, address, telephone contact, and the date you were swabbed and the location it was done.

Dr Parasram was unable to quantify how many people were yet to receive the results of their test but noted “the majority of the results would have been disseminated.”

“But there was still a group of persons that we want to capture in the event that persons don’t know their status.”

He, however, advised citizens to only access the service if they have not received their results five days after being swabbed.

Also speaking at the press conference was Dr Sana Mohammed who revealed that those most vulnerable to psychological impacts from COVID-19 include those who are elderly and those with co-morbidities. Dr Mohammed is a pulmonologist and COVID-19 consultant at the North Central Regional Health Authority.

“Specifically more elderly patients may be more at risk or patients who have multiple co-morbidities because they may have more severe disease or patients who had pre-morbid mental health issues. For example, patients who would have had anxiety or depression prior to coming into hospital may experience more symptoms of mental health,” she said in a response to a question from Guardian Media.

She said locally, some patients present with mental health conditions such as depression, mood changes, and feelings of isolation which she attributed to both the viral infection as well as the environmental changes brought on by the pandemic.

“This may be due to the COVID-19 infection as we know that emotional health is impacted on by COVID-19 or it may be feelings that can be attributed to the pandemic itself. Because even in people who are not hospitalised with COVID-19 or patients who do not have COVID-19—they may experience feelings of depression or just due to the pandemic alone,” she said.

She noted that there is a “specialist mental health team who helps guide treatment for these patients”; while in hospital and after discharge.

Dr Mohammed also indicated that the Executive Wellness Centre at the Arima General Hospital “has been conceptualised to help manage our patients who may experience Long Covid or other health consequences following COVId-19 infection and who require specialist input.”