Health authorities have declared an apartment complex in George Town COVID-19 free after extensive investigations over the past 48 hours.
The 26-unit complex was placed under containment on Monday following a development in which a householder had to be placed into government-supervised isolation for COVID-19.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee updated on Wednesday that elaborate contact-tracing has not shown any evidence of anyone else at the premises showing symptoms consistent with the virus which might have been acquired via the isolated individual.
The preventive measures were taken over concerns about the risk of community-transmission in the close quarters of the residential complex.
Meanwhile, Dr Lee also reported on Wednesday that an additional six persons have tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total to 60.
Of those, four were persons who'd had previous contact with known carriers of the virus, while the other two were locally acquired pointing to community transmission.
In giving the results for 56 additional tests, the CMO said this takes the overall number of persons tested to 636 with 576 returning negative results.
Meanwhile Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin has revisited the issue of calls to reopen the economy.
He said “it would be nothing short of an act of absolute lunacy” to consider returning to normal business activity at this stage.
“If we yield to pressure to reopen Cayman, it could end up looking like a miniature New York, Italy or Spain.”
Premier McClaughlin feared that unless the virus was suppressed in Cayman, opening up the economy prematurely could mean that unlike the metropolitan countries where bodies lie unclaimed, “there won’t be any unclaimed bodies in Cayman” because of the size and closeness of the community.
Once again defending the strategies the government has adopted to restrict public movement, Mr McLaughlin said had that not been done, the projection was for at least 1,000 deaths in Cayman from COVID-19.
To date, there has only been one death; a cruise ship passenger who had acquired the virus elsewhere.
TESTING, TESTING, TESTING
In a related development, Premier McLaughlin disclosed on Wednesday that widescale testing for COVID-19 was expected to get underway as early as next week.
This is in line with the World Health Organisation recommendation to “test, test, test”.
The CMO Dr Lee also disclosed that protocols are being reviewed to broaden to base for testing.
This would mean that tests could be carried out at a wider range of sites and would allow medical professionals broader discretion in determining at what point COVID-19 might be necessary.
Arrangements, including training, are being put in place to facilitate as Cayman’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak steps up another notch.
Dr Lee also announced that the wearing of masks could soon become a norm in the community during the crisis with local production lines coming on stream.
He said the Red Cross has been manufacturing masks in large quantities and those could soon be available to the public.
Hon. Minister for Health Dwayne Seymour has been a strong advocate for wearing masks, making it a regular feature of his contributions during the press conferences.
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