Health Minister Issues COVID-19 Video Update
Minister of Health Hon. Sabrina Turner today issued a video update on COVID-19 testing and communication in light of increased community transmission, including the emergence of positive cases in the Sister Islands.
“I am sure that the rising number of cases comes as rather a shock to our systems after spending over 18 months in our ‘COVID bubble’. But now we must join the rest of the world in managing community spread among our population. It was inevitable that it would happen, and we are prepared,” she said.
The Health Minister acknowledged that a continued rise in cases is likely given increased testing, as well as “the highly contagious nature of this virus, and in particular of the dominant delta variant”.
She urged residents to remain calm, as she said, “The Cayman Islands – all three of them – are in a very good position to manage COVID-19 and emerge on the other side.”
She cited a highly vaccinated population, a well prepared and resourced healthcare system and an educated population well-versed in taking personal protective measures as key factors enabling the Cayman Islands to manage and live with COVID-19.
Minister Turner said, “And we can take heart from and be optimistic about the fact that the vast majority of our cases are mild to moderate, with very few cases thus far requiring either hospitalization or oxygen support – and with most cases continuing to be asymptomatic.”
She noted that the Public Health Department is “tracking this data in order to be able to respond to any changes in these trends right away”.
During her video message, Minister Turner announced changes to the daily COVID-19 process with the daily update to be provided by the Public Health Department and disseminated through Government communication channels.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee, will continue to provide regular messages and periodic updates as needed.
Minister Turner also announced improvements in communicating test results directly to people who have been tested.
She said, “Public Health will be notifying both positives and negatives via email going forward rather than negatives by email and positives by phone, in order to make notification more immediate for those who are positive.”
She continued, “I would ask everyone, however, to understand that results can take up to 72 hours to be returned. So, please be patient, as we want to ensure that your results are accurate as well as timely.”
Minister Turner also addressed “mounting concern in the Sister Islands regarding positive cases in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman”.
She said, “I assure you that we are extending the same support to our people on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman that we are on Grand Cayman. Everyone affected by COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands will have access to support in getting groceries and other supplies, as well as with getting their results in a timely fashion, and being able to apply for the ex-gratia stipend if eligible.”
She announced that lateral flow tests would be distributed to schools in Cayman Brac as well as on Grand Cayman, and announced that national guidelines on COVID-19 testing for children and students would be released this week.
Minister Turner closed by saying, “We are committed to doing everything we can to inform, assist and support you, and are walking with you and beside you through this time of community spread.”
Minister Turner’s full message can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/vcL9K8VHwwg
Submitted by: Ministry of Health & Wellness (CIG)