Q & A: Ministry of Health’s Press Conference – April 7th 2020

Q & A: Ministry of Health’s Press Conference – April 7th 2020

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago held another media conference, to update the public on daily developments amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Listed below are a few questions asked by members of the media: 

Q: How many local private labs are there, with COVID-19 testing capabilities?

A: There are no accurate numbers to list the amount of private labs locally. However, the Ministry of Health has partnered with private labs to assist in the national effort against COVID-19. COVID-19 testing at private labs cost between $1,000TT to $2,000TT and have been asked by the MOH to not exploit their prices.


Q: What are the national policies for the Cuban Medical Personnel who will be coming to Trinidad and Tobago?

A: The Cuban government is  currently arranging a plane to get their nurses and other medical professionals to T&T. Upon their arrival all medical staff will be quarantine for 14days. After this is done, only then they will be able to join T&T’s health care system.


Q: What is the Governments response to the gathering of unattended children at play in particular neighbourhoods and communities? 

A: The Government has continued to ask parents to keep their children away from public gatherings, which includes children public play time, as no one immune from the effects of COVID-19.


Q: How long is the duration process for COV-19 test results to be received by private labs? 

A: COVID-19 lab test results can take up to 24hrs to be produced. All tests results will be sent to CARPHA (The Caribbean Public Health Agency) for further verification and validation my medical experts, as there have been inconsistencies within private labs.


Q: Why is there a delay in the building of  Testing Lab at the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA)?

A: There has been a delay due to the impeded shipment of the testing kits. All test kits includes an extraction kit. Once the extraction kits are delivered, work can begin. As many countries worldwide have closed off their boarders, this created am obstruction in getting a cargo plane to deliver the kits to T&T.


Q: How many health workers infected are in quarantine? 

A: There has been a report of two (2) health care personnel who have been infected with COVID-19. One located in Tobago and the other in Trinidad.


Q: What is the update on Trinidad nationals in Barbados, Margarita (Venezuela) and Suriname?

A: A Diplomatic note was sent to Barbados and they were provided with COVID-19 test kits to test all 35 Trinidad and Tobago nationals. Also, contact has been made with the Ministry of Security and Foreign Affairs within these countries to endure that T&T nationals are accounted, protected and kept informed. Nationals in Margarita have been asked to contact the consulate and T&T Embassy to get tested. 


Q: Is there counselling provided for parents with children at home amid COVID-19? 

A: Yes, counselling services are available at all Mental Health Clinics nationwide, with serious guidelines and protocols to follow with respects to social distancing, etc.


Q: What is the next stage for COVID-19 cases in T&T?

A: There is no check-list, every country experiences it’s unique circumstances. Trinidad and Tobago continues to be guided and monitored by medical professional and experts.


Q:What step up and step down means?

A: This explains COVID19 Symptomatology, which means there are different levels of supportive care for  COVID-19. These levels of care are; Convalescent care, Primary care and Tertiary Care. The Ministry of Health wants to only discharge persons who are medically clear to protect the population, as an additional 7 days post clearance will be advised.


Q: Are all medical staff given PED Masks and if not, why?

A: The Ministry of Health’s policy to make PED masks available to health care workers are based on their necessary requirements. It depends on the level of exposure and what type of procedures each health department and workers are doing. All front-line medical staff (emergency staff, etc) have been equipped with the appropriate PED. Additionally, every CEO of the various Regional Health Authorities, have been given direct control of the PED, delivered to them.


Q: Where there any illegal entries into the borders of Trinidad and Tobago? 

A: The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard have been diligently monitoring our Maritime. However, they’re nationals who have been breaching the borders unto Venezuela waters to trade. They have been caught, prosecuted and charged. No Venezuelans have crossed into our borders as local intelligence have advised that Venezuelan’s are safer within their country at this time during the pandemic.


Q: Will Tobago receive a public COVID-19 testing centre on the island? 

A: There is an arrangement throughout CAFAH to have all Tobago’s testings sent to the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA). A PCR machine maybe sent to Tobago. It will only be operational after adequate training is done for personnel to operate the machine.  


Q: Does the TTPS have a man hunt for persons fleeing quarantine?

A: Trinidad and Tobago’s Defence Force located the person that attempted to flee the quarantine facility. However, there is still a fine of  $50,00oTT and 6 months imprisonment for persons who breach the law.  


Q: Are Convenient Stories allowed to be open during this time?

A: All Convenient Stores are required to be closed at 6pm daily. The sale of fuel can be continued.