MoH ready for any COVID-19 spike after THA election / The Min­istry of Health has al­most dou­bled up on space in its step-down fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date an in­crease in COVID-19 cas­es – ei­ther from the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly elec­tions cam­paign­ing or the ar­rival of the Omi­cron vari­ant.

This was the word from Min­is­ter of Health, Ter­rence Deyals­ingh yes­ter­day.

Ques­tioned at the Min­istry of Health’s vir­tu­al me­dia con­fer­ence about any con­cerns of fur­ther spikes in cas­es, Min­is­ter Deyals­ingh said: “We are al­ways pre­pared to ac­com­mo­date ex­tra per­sons fol­low­ing any con­gre­ga­tion. Let’s hope that every­thing goes well to­day in To­ba­go.

“You just heard me say that we have ex­pand­ed our step-down fa­cil­i­ties and will be ex­pand­ing it from 188 beds to 342. That is in prepa­ra­tion for all even­tu­al­i­ties, whether it’s due to an elec­tion, whether it’s due to Delta, whether it’s due to Omi­cron, whether it’s due to any gath­er­ing.”

On fears over the Omi­cron vari­ant, Deyals­ingh urged peo­ple not to mis­in­ter­pret pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies on the sever­i­ty of its in­fec­tion to mean the vari­ant does not war­rant con­cern.

“Those are some ini­tial find­ings in small pop­u­la­tions of peo­ple. We still don’t know,” he said.

“The key take­away is to treat Omi­corn and its ar­rival in Trinidad and To­ba­go as se­ri­ous. Treat it as se­ri­ous­ly as we treat Delta. It is ear­ly days yet.”

With re­cent ad­mis­sions that the vari­ant could be among the pop­u­la­tion but yet to be de­tect­ed, Deyals­ingh said it is crit­i­cal every­one re­mains vig­i­lant.

“The vac­ci­nat­ed, you have that ex­tra lay­er of pro­tec­tion. How­ev­er, you still need to prac­tice the pub­lic health mea­sures of wear­ing your mask es­pe­cial­ly, wash­ing your hands, so­cial dis­tanc­ing and thank you for be­ing vac­ci­nat­ed,” Deyals­ingh said.

This ad­vice, he said, need­ed to be more strict­ly ad­hered to by the un­vac­ci­nat­ed pop­u­la­tion “be­cause you don’t have that ex­tra lay­er of pro­tec­tion that a vac­cine will give you.”

While the Unit­ed States and the Unit­ed King­dom have ad­just­ed the time­frame for neg­a­tive PCR tests be­fore en­try due to Omi­cron, the Min­is­ter of Health said there will not be any such changes in T&T yet.

He not­ed the min­istry is close­ly mon­i­tor­ing de­vel­op­ments in­ter­na­tion­al­ly and lo­cal­ly and will ad­vise the pub­lic on any changes to the bor­der pro­to­cols.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian

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