COVID CASES INCREASE BUT PREMIER ASSURES NO NEED FOR ALARM
Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin said residents need not be alarmed by the increased number of COVID-19 cases.
Another 8 positive cases were reported on Friday from a total of 467 tests carried out in the past 24 hours.
That brings the total of confirmed cases to 129.
Presenting his daily update Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said all of the confirmed cases are frontline workers; one was a contact of another infected person and the other seven are believed to have been community-acquired.
There are currently 65 active cases. Of that number 55 are asymptomatic and 12 are persons displaying symptoms. 61 persons have recovered.
Dr Lee also reported that the contact tracing from the three cases uncovered in Cayman Brac has not shown any spread in the sister island.
Commenting on the latest update, Premier McLaughlin noted that the number of positive results from the expanding testing programme was less than 2% which was remarkably low, adding that it was a good sign that there are no outbreak clusters or spikes.
NO NEED FOR ALARM
“We do not believe that there are any causes for alarm with the results that we are getting in terms of the number of positives. We are still on average below 2% of those testing positive for the virus which is incredibly low,” he said.
Mr McLaughlin also said it was significant that “not one person has turned up at the clinic or at any of the hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms since the 27th of April".
There are currently no COVID-19 hospitalisations either.
“The people that are testing positive are people who are being tested as part of a screening process so we would expect that we would wind up with a significant number of cases."
The Premier stressed that what the government is "trying to do is avoid what has happened in many other places where they have been under a false sense of security because they have not been seeing a large number of cases.”
He suggested that's unlike in Cayman where the focus has been on intensified testing which is showing up the increased numbers.
"We are hunting down this disease," he stated.
Mr McLaughlin said the nature of the virus is such that a person who initially tests negative can show a positive result two weeks later as the virus incubates.
NO TIME FOR COMPLACENCY
The Premier said the objective was not to carry out blanket testing in Cayman but to target specific groups where the economy has been or is about to be reopened.
“We are not seeking to test every single person. We are trying to test broad demographic groups focusing on the area we are unlocking or recently unlocked to get a representative sample of that group to understand the prevalence of the virus in that group,” he explained.
The ongoing targeted testing a critical component in the decision-making on the pace at which to re-open the economy.
“We can’t keep the economy locked down indefinitely. We are doing everything to minimise the risk but while there is widespread community transmission it is not by any means rampant. The numbers are very small.
Assessing the current situation compared to earlier in the crisis, he recalled that “we had some very sick people in the hospital but that is not the situation now,”.
However, Mr McLaughlin cautioned: “We have to be very careful that we don’t fall into the trap and that we don’t become complacent and wind up with a wave.”
He described the earlier phases of the COVID-19 outbreak here as a ripple and not a wave.
“That is why the government has exercised a great deal of caution in unlocking various areas of the economy only after extensive testing and in a thoughtful way,” he added.
He said testing will continue even when the economy is completely unlocked to ensure that there are no further flare-ups at that stage.