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Members of the public wait outside the San Fernando Teaching Hospital yesterday.

Since July 20, there have been some 14 cases of COVID-19 whose sources of infection were unknown at the time and resulted in almost the same number of infections in primary contacts. But now through its epidemiological investigations, the Ministry of Health believes there is an emerging link between some of these patients.

“We have found among the cases we had identified to date that several of them have been, as we said, interlinked. Either family members, workplace or social gatherings,” Technical Director of the Epidemiology Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr Avery Hinds said during a virtual press conference yesterday.

“As we get more information on new cases, we’ve actually found that some of the cases we thought weren’t initially linked are actually linked to some of the social gatherings that we’d identified previously. So we are getting the sense that there is some sort of relationship between the vast majority of the cases we’ve been able to identify.”

Dr Hinds said the ministry is continuing its established protocol in treating with these patients and also to curb the further spread of the virus.

“We are continuing the process of the swabbing, the quarantine, the advice on sanitisation of exposed settings,” he said.

This information, he explained was due to contact-tracing exercises.

Last week, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh revealed that people were hiding, lying and being hostile towards officials during the contact tracing process and appealed for citizens to be forthcoming and cooperative during the exercises.

Yesterday, he once again renewed this call as health officials spent a significant portion of the press conference explaining the process and emphasizing its importance to curbing the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, clinic hours at the San Fernando General Hospital have not been reduced, but clinic operations have been altered in keeping with public health regulations.

This was revealed yesterday by communications manager at the Southwest Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Kevon Gervais.

Responding to questions from Guardian Media, Gervais denied that a COVID-19 patient had been housed at the Urology ward of the hospital.

He explained that there was no need to decant the ward, noting that operations there are continuing as normal.

Gervais also said visiting hours have not been recently affected.

“It remains adjusted in accordance with prior directives of the Ministry of Health, and whereby it remains limited to one visitor, per patient, per bed, at one visiting period per day. Masks are mandatory for visitors. Visitors with fever and flu-like symptoms are not allowed to enter,” he added.