Rhianna Mc Kenzie
The Ministry of Health has detected 28 additional cases of the covid19 omicron variant of concern on Friday.
It is the largest number of cases reported in any one day since its arrival in Trinidad and Tobago.
In a release, the ministry said the total number of confirmed omicron cases is now 56. Eighteen of the cases had no history of recent travel and no known contact with recent travellers, but two of the cases had recent travel history or contact with a recent traveller. Eight are under epidemiologic investigation.
“As a result of their positive covid19 results, each of the patients has been isolated and will remain in isolation until the enhanced discharge criteria for persons with covid19 variants of concern are met.”
The ministry said contacts of the positive cases have been quarantined.
“The presence of the omicron variant was confirmed via gene sequencing at the laboratory of the faculty of medical sciences, UWI.”
As of January 6, the WHO confirmed the omicron variant has been identified in 149 countries.
On January 10, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds and emergency care specialist Dr Joanne Paul warned the public to be ready for a surge of the omicron covid19 variant which they said may have been, at that time, in the embryonic stages of local or community spread.
Hinds said, in analysing recent epidemiological data from the final two weeks in December, the information was examined “against the backdrop of potential community introduction of the far more transmissible omicron variant.”
The omicron variant, while more transmissible than previous variants, has not caused severe sickness with many patients presenting with milder symptoms.
Parasram said if people are experiencing milder symptoms, they may be less inclined to come forward for testing. He said then that the ministry estimated there could be an increase in covid19 cases within one-two weeks.
On January 15, Tobago recorded its first omicron case.
In a statement, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection said the sample was collected on January 4 and the result reported on January 14. On Wednesday, the division reported two additional cases, and two more on Friday bringing the island’s total to five.
1,259 new covid cases, 22 deaths
The ministry also announced on Friday that there were 1,259 new covid19 cases and 22 additional deaths. The death toll, to date, stands at 3,278.
Of the 22 deaths, five were elderly males, seven elderly females, three were middle-aged males, five middle-aged females, one young female and one infant.
The comorbidities of the deceased were diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, asthma, a history of strokes, and anaemia. The ministry said 13 people had multiple comorbidities, seven people each had one comorbidity, and two had no known medical conditions.
The new covid19 cases reflect samples taken between January 13-20. It is the highest daily reported number since the virus arrived in TT. On Thursday, the ministry reported 1,063 additional cases – the second highest daily reported number.
In the third week of January, the ministry recorded 5,493 cases with a daily average of 784.
In the first week of December, the ministry reported 5,240 cases with a daily average of 748.
The ministry’s update on Friday said 586 patients are hospitalised and there are 18,034 active cases.
It also said of the patients in the parallel health care system from July 22 to January 5, only 15 per cent (representing 1,914) were fully vaccinated while 85 per cent (representing 10,863) were not fully vaccinated.
Of those who died, 189 were fully vaccinated and 2,659 were not.
There were 390 deaths recorded prior to May 24 when the first group of vaccinated individuals were considered fully vaccinated.