By Shakir Khan
Residents turned out in large numbers on Thursday evening, March 5th, at the Aston Rutty Center, to get first-hand knowledge about the CORONA-VIRUS, COVID-19.
A medical team from Health Services Authority led by Mrs. Lizette Yearwood, CEO of HAS made a most pointed and clear presentation.
After being welcomed by the District Commissioner, Mr. Ernie Scott, the audience heard first from Dr. Velusamy, Director of Sister Islands Health Services.
He commenced his presentation with his usual smiling approach and commended all who were present. “I know many of you are researching. That’s good. But, there’s a great deal of fake news out there. I knew of this as far as back in the 80’s when I was in medical school. This is the first related to humans. There are no vaccines as yet to treat this. 8 out 10 affected have a simple cough, fever and so on. Pneumonia is a possibility from this. More die from common flu than from this virus. We are not fearful but concerned. This medium is to calm your fears and provide the requesite knowledge needed. Singapore has no cases. This is due to their outstanding mode of preparing and prevention. Washing hands is about the most important practice.”
Dr. Samuel Williams Rodriguez, Medical Officer of Health, then addressed the gathering. “There is a great deal of anxiety about this. Thankfully there is no suspected or confirmed case in Cayman Islands. Our mission is to focus on prevention. If one has the cough or cold it does mean that you are infected. Influenza has a greater mortality rate than this. There’s no specific treatment but this is administered according to symptoms visible. We are prepared to fight this with a multi- pronged approach. Please observe all health instructions given here today.”
Mrs. Yearwood then addressed the audience.” I am delighted to see all of you lovely people. Be careful of what you read on social media. Lots of false info going around. Travellers from the U.S are asked their travel history on arrival here. Cabinet issued a quarantine order especially related to China. The virus is spread via water droplets from sneezing etc. We have a motto to observe, “catch it, trash it and wash it”. We are assuring residents we are ready so do not panic. We have put in place a Flu clinic here at the medical wing of the Center with 6 beds. All hands are on deck with this.”
Mrs. Coleman from Hazard Management told the audience that the same preparations used for a hurricane are being used with this. HS is very diligent and working assiduously to ensure proper preparations. Knowledge is key. It’s a massive, multi-agency operation of which we can all be proud. A key to this is to try and avoid mass meetings and adhere to the health guidelines.”
Residents then asked questions about certain concerns and answers were given by members of the medical team. Each answer came with the assurance of being prepared. The session ended with a joint prayer by Pastors Thomas French and Joel Scott Senior.