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T&T recorded its 12th COVID-19-related death for the week as two people succumbed to the virus yesterday, the Ministry of Health said.

This meant the country recorded a death for six consecutive days, taking the total number of deaths from the virus locally to 31. Of these deaths, 23 have occurred in the second phase of infection locally which began on July 20 with case 139.

According to the ministry’s updates, the recent fatalities were two men—one of them elderly with pre-existing conditions.

Since last Friday there have been 16 deaths. There were two deaths last Friday, an elderly male with co-morbidities and an adult female. On Sunday there were two deaths, both elderly males with comorbidities. On Monday there was one death, an elderly female with comorbidities. The highest number of deaths to be recorded within 24 hours occurred on Tuesday after the ministry said five people died—two elderly men and three women—including elderly women. Wednesday and Thursday recorded one death each, both elderly men with comorbidities.

The number of active cases also crossed 1,300 now standing at 1,302 after 56 new cases were recorded. However, the ministry said this does not represent a 24-hour increase as it included samples taken between August 28 and September 3. These delayed figures are part of a backlog of samples the ministry has been grappling to clear for weeks despite enlisting the assistance of a private lab and other measures.

However, local health experts hope the recently-announced purchase of 160,000 rapid antigen test kits through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) will provide relief to the testing system and help clear the backlog once the kits reach T&T and are employed.

The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus since the first case was recorded on March 12 crossed 2,000 yesterday, now standing at 2,040. There were seven also people discharged yesterday, bringing the total number of people to have recovered from the virus locally to 707.

The ministry’s 10 am update said there were 1,142 patients in home isolation and there were 100 patients hospitalised – 26 at the Caura Hospital and 74 at the Couva Hospital. Of these patients, six were warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 13 were warded in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).