81 Health City samples tested for COVID-19 to date: 75 negative, 6 positive

CAYMAN ISLANDS (March 26, 2020) –  Health City Cayman Islands is reporting a total of 81 samples tested for COVID-19, with six testing positive for the virus and 75 testing negative.

The six positive samples from the tertiary care hospital are all linked to and include the Cayman Islands’ first recorded COVID-19 positive patient, a 68-year-old cruise visitor who arrived as a cardiac emergency at Health City Cayman Islands on February 29 and passed away on March 14.

One of these six positive results was actually counted among the first batch of 19 negative COVID-19 tests run by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA), , but was later to be found as positive by The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).  The remainder of the positive results from Health City samples were gleaned from local tests.

The results of the CARPHA review of the first batch of tests run by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) was announced by Dr. Lee at a Cayman Islands Government press conference held on Wednesday, March 25.  He noted at that time that the sample which tested positive at CARPHA should have been termed as an “inconclusive” result when tested locally rather than as negative.

With the total number of COVID-19 infections among Health City samples standing at six, including the original COVID-19 positive patient who has since passed away, there are five individuals linked to Health City – who are all currently remaining in quarantine.

Commenting on the newly announced test results, Health City Cayman Islands Clinical Director Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil said, “We are of course disappointed that there was a higher number of positive results than initially announced, based on the local test results. However, the infection rate among samples from Health City remains low with five out of 80 being positive excluding the original COVID-19 positive patient. And we remain secure in the knowledge that we took the appropriate and correct steps to contain the virus, as confirmed by Public Health Cayman and Public Health England. ”

The hospital quarantined and tested all staff members, their families, and any other individuals who were considered to be at direct risk for exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The level of contact with the initial COVID-19 positive patient determined the risk level. Additionally, any of those individuals who displayed flu-like symptoms were included in the testing group.

It should be of note that when there is a new positive result, that person then becomes the primary subject and his or her contacts are then re-categorized as primary and secondary contacts. This leads to people who would have previously been categorized as secondary contacts becoming what are considered to be primary contacts, and necessitates people being tested who were not tested previously. This is what has caused the increase in the number of people being tested. 

The five individuals linked to Health City who have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain in quarantine for 14 days, as is the standard for these cases as confirmed by Public Health Cayman Islands and Public Health England. They will have confirmatory clearance tests conducted at the conclusion of this period before they are released from the mandatory quarantine.

Dr. Chattuparambil confirmed that the hospital remains committed to the containment of the virus, and is continuing its vigilance.

“Please rest assured that we are abiding by the highest standards of infection control and have also taken expert advice on the containment of COVID-19. I continue to urge everyone to follow standard precautionary measures against contracting the virus, including regular hand-washing and practicing good respiratory hygiene. Please also comply with Cayman Islands Government mandates to shelter at home and to observe all curfew requirements. These measures have been instituted for the protection and safety of all residents” he said.

Dr. Chattuparambil also referred to the two positive and one inconclusive COVID-19 test results announced on Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25 by Dr. Lee at Cayman Islands Government press briefings which brought the total number of COVID-19 positive cases in the Cayman Islands to eight, possibly nine.  

He said, “As we have seen from the most recently announced test results, there are two positives from cases with a travel history to countries with high rates of COVID-19 infection, and one inconclusive result from a case with no travel history – which could confirm community transmission in the Cayman Islands. None of these cases are linked in any way to Health City Cayman Islands. We must keep in mind that the Cayman Islands have had frequent and numerous visitors from countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and also that there is a high rate of business travel to and from these countries and the Cayman Islands. Which means that there are undoubtedly other sources of COVID-19 in our overall community, and this necessitates extreme caution and vigilance – as is being shown by the government-mandated lockdown the Islands are currently under.”

He further explained that that any person who has had potential infectious contact with a quarantined individual at Health City has already been notified and has been followed up with by the Public Health Department for evaluation and potential testing.

Dr. Chattuparambil advised that Health City is continuing to work closely with Cayman Islands Government health officials on regular updates regarding the local COVID-19 situation and will issue further updates as soon as any new information is available.

Individuals who develop any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose etc., are advised to contact the Cayman Islands Public Health Department at [email protected] or via the flu hotline at 1-800-534-8600.

For more information about how to protect yourself from acquiring COVID-19, visit www.hsa.ky/coronavirus and www.gov.ky/coronavirus

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