Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling for an increase in testing since the country recorded its 6th Covid-19 related death on Thursday.
The Opposition Leader said, “I note with grave concern the most recent official statistics regarding the Covid-19 spread in Trinidad and Tobago, which clearly point to an urgent need for the Ministry of Health to significantly increase its testing capacity of suspected Covid-19 cases among the population.”
At a news conference on Thursday, health officials released a sample contact tracing GIS location map of Covid-19 positive cases throughout the country.
“Very worryingly, this map clearly depicts the potentially very wide spread of Covid-19, especially in three of our most densely populated regions—Chaguanas, the East/West corridor and Port of Spain,” she said.
Global statistics readily demonstrate that the countries which have prioritized early detection in their fight against the Covid-19 spread via large scale testing of their populations have had low mortality rates and are most successful in containing the spread.
“In this vein, and in light of its latest statistics, it is therefore simply unacceptable that the Health Ministry has only tested 688 samples for Covid-19 out of the 20,000 exposed persons (by their given statistics) in the past month.”
As a result, Persad-Bissessar is calling on the Ministry of Health to immediately undertake:
- Widespread testing of all primary, secondary and tertiary health care workers deemed to be exposed/at risk for Covid-19 from any positive patient thus far.
- Re-testing of all persons with symptoms consistent with infection who initially tested negative.
- Posthumous testing of all persons who died in the target period of flu-like or related Covid-19 symptoms, and who were not tested before their deaths. This is for the protection and peace of mind of the families of the deceased and health care workers who may have treated these persons.
- Re-testing of all persons who have recovered from infection and were deemed to be adequately immune.
“I therefore further recommend that the Government amends the necessary regulations to undertake a joint medical Public/Private Partnership venture. This would allow Private Medical Labs across the country to undertake testing and thereby greatly assist with this much needed large scale Covid-19 testing.”
She said increased large scale testing as a matter of priority now falls within this ‘must-do’ range of solutions at this very fragile state of our nation’s life, if we are to ensure our very survival.