Workers enter Trinrico Steel and Wire Products Limited compound in Reform, South Trinidad yesterday.

The country’s COVID-19 cases continues to rise with another 15 cases being confirmed by the Ministry of Health yesterday.

In its 6 pm release, the ministry said another eight people had been confirmed as positive during the course of day, bringing the total cases confirmed yesterday to 15, a new daily high for locally transmitted cases and 225 overall.

The ministry said three of the latest cases had contracted the virus from other positive patients but the majority of the others were now pending epidemiological investigation.

The news came even as another factory worker from Trinrico Steel and Wire Products Limited in Reform, South Trinidad, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Yesterday, for the second time this week, over 150 workers from the factory were sent home as a result of one of their colleagues testing positive. Teams from the Ministry of Health shut down the facility and began a thorough sanitisation of the factory, situated at Reform Village, Gasparillo.

During an interview with Guardian Media, a source at the company said another worker had tested positive. Expressing concern for the safety of his staff, the official said they were convinced that further restrictions should be imposed to stop the spread.

He said the Health and Safety team had been speaking with workers, asking them to take all precautions to safeguard themselves and their families.

“The factory this morning (yesterday) is closed to sanitise. We cannot say if we are opening. We are awaiting confirmation from the Health inspectors. I believe they are in discussions with the HR department at the factory compound. Once they give us the all-clear, we will reopen,” the official said.

He added, “We are very concerned about the local spread. We have to be concerned. In light of the local cases, we think that the Government should shut down bars and cinemas. This will have to be done soon.”

Trinrico is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of re-bars, welded mesh, nails and fencing and has supplied either rebar processing or fencing at many projects, including government housing, hotels, hospitals and medical facilities.

The Ministry of Health also conducted sanitisation at the Immigration office in San Fernando yesterday, after a police officer at the facility was contact traced to a positive COVID-19 patient.

The facility is expected to be reopened for business on Monday.

Meanwhile, some patients who are testing negative at the state quarantine facilities are now questioning why they are being housed in the same shared spaces with the “new” incoming positive COVID-19 cases. They fear that should they be negative in the second phase of testing and be discharged and allowed to return to their respective families, they may be “taking the virus home with them.” Relatives of patients who tested positive are also questioning the delay in getting their results.Speaking to Guardian Media under strict anonymity for fear of victimisation, a close relative of one of the COVID-19 patients said it was “scary and concerning” to hear that new patients were not being separated from the ones who were already at the state facilities.“I spoke to my relative and was told that there’s only board separating each room at the facility and it’s about four of them sharing a room. My relative said that a test was done and the result came back negative but yet still every day it have positive cases coming in and they are all together,” the relative said.

“For instance, there is only three bathrooms and they all have to use the same facilities…so what will happen now if my relative comes back home to us knowing that my relative was among other positive cases because they are not separating anyone? Can I or my children get the COVID-19? Can my relative be positive again as a result?”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram did not answer calls to his cellphone on the issue yesterday.