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Nickocy Phillips

The political leader of the Unity of the People Nickocy Phillips alleges that the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) Community Development Department is forcing staff to continue working in an area not sanitized, although it was recently occupied by other COVID-positive staff. The THA said that is not the truth.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Phillips said the staff, family, and friends are concerned about the situation as they too can become infected.

“Seven persons or more reached out to me with regard to an issue at the Community Development. It’s alleged persons tested positive for COVID-19 from Community Development’s accounts department. Presently they are quarantined. They (THA) do not want to close down the accounts section, so persons have to continue working there.

Phillips said he tried reaching out to the Secretary of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour Marslyn Melville -Jack about the situation but she did not respond.

Melville-Jack told Guardian Media, matters relating to COVID-19 in the division are handled based on health protocols.

She said the island’s Occupational Safety and Health and Labour Departments are part of the Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour Division, “so there is no way protocols could be breached. Every situation received the guidance of the County Medical Officer of Health.”

She said a few members of the accounts department were on quarantine for COVID-19, but they have returned to work.

Meanwhile, the Tobago Regional Health Authority is reporting that as of Tuesday, August 24, there were 32 new COVID cases in Tobago. That brought the total active cases to 502. Of that figure, 465 were in home isolation, 33 in state isolation, and four in the Intensive Care Unit. Thirty-eight people were discharged.

So far, 17,692 people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 12,490 their two doses.