Covid19 response team member in the Office of the County Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr Anthony Thompson is appealing to the public to stay at home, abide by the regulations and restrict individual activities.
Speaking at a virtual news conference hosted by the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development on Friday, Thompson said “things have actually gotten more difficult. We have certainly a lot more cases happening.
“We need to work together, the health service as well as the public, in trying to bring these curves back down.
“The biggest and most significant contribution that can fix this situation is if the public abides by the regulations. The orders to stay home are only going to be effective if you stay in your home. It’s not an order to stay home and visit friends and lime by the corner, and as much as we can implement that, we can actually bend these curves back to no cases on island.”
He said this week has been a very difficult week as an island and as a health system, saying as public health officials began to review the data for the last week, most of the indicators have been “discouraging to say the least.
“Between last week Friday and yesterday (Thursday), we would have recorded 58 more new cases, we would have experienced three deaths, and the current number of active cases as of today’s update is 99.”
He presented a graph showing Tobago has recorded its highest level of active cases since the pandemic began.
“This curve that we’re looking at is the seven-day average for active cases on island and its actually up to 77.6. Last week when we presented, it was 64.9 – so that’s risen steadily, and this is a rolling average over the previous seven days. So as of May 18, it stood at 77.6, which is the highest level that we’ve recorded since the pandemic began.”
On new cases, he said they have also increased as the seven-day average as of May 18 stood at nine cases a day.
“This is an increase from 5.286 last week Friday.”
He said last week the percentage of samples sent for testing that came back with a positive result was 11.7 per cent.
“Now it has actually risen to 19.3 per cent. Again, the highest since the pandemic has begun.”
He said his office has now taken a deeper look to see if there is a gender disparity in the number of new cases being experienced, and presented a pie chart.
“This pie chart shows the orange area, being female new cases, at 56.3 per cent, with the blue being the males at 43.7 per cent.
“In comparing it to the total number of samples submitted, the percentages are roughly the same. So it may not reflect an actual higher risk to women of contracting covid19, but it more likely reflects differences in health-seeking behaviours and accessing care. So traditionally, women tend to access care more readily than men. Hence they would test more often, and we would end up with more positives being accounted for by women.”
With regard to age distribution, he said the most affected group is those aged 30-39, “followed by 40-49 and then 20-29 and then by 50-59 – so these are all working-age population. Naturally working-age members of the population would tend to be out of their homes more frequently, so it’s likely that they would have a higher risk of exposure to covid19 or to other persons who can transmit the illness.
“Also, there is concern of people not just been exposed in terms of work, but this may also be the age group where people tend to go out and visit each other more often.”