The Public Health Department has confirmed that one of the persons tested recently for the novel coronavirus has tested positive.
“The patient is a visitor who was transferred from a cruise ship for a critical cardiac issue,” said Medical Health Officer, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.
It’s the only one to have returned positive out of a batch of six samples sent for testing to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on Monday, March 9th.
Six samples were sent and the results of five were received on Thursday. Four were negative and one positive. The other result is awaited.
Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said the patient who was hospitalised at Health City Cayman with cardiac issues was initially doing well but subsequently developed breathing difficulties.
He was placed in isolation and a sample taken and sent for testing which has now returned COVID-19 positive.
Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, Clinical Director of Health City Cayman Islands says “the patient has been isolated and is receiving medical support having tested positive for the COVID-19.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said he was “confident that all appropriate measures have been taken and the patient poses no risk to the rest of the community."
Minister of Health Hon. Dwayne Seymour said the government was “doing all it can to protect citizens.”
“We call all applaud the hard work and commitment of our health department for their resilience and diligence in this matter,” he added.
Hon. Seymour went on emphasise that “for Cayman’s attack on COVID-19 to be successful, ongoing public support is critical.”
Referring to the increasing number of cases being confirmed in the Caribbean and the US, he cautioned against the spreading of rumours and said that the authorities are working hard to provide reliable information to the public.
“I understand the uncertainty you may be feeling now and how rumours can spread in these anxious times,” he said. “However, I ask you all to be responsible.”
Hon Seymour assured that "the Ministry of Health, Public Heath Cayman and the HSA are striving constantly to provide (the public) with reliable information.”
The state of health preparedness and responsiveness was also confirmed by Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee and Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez who were also present.
Both spoke of arrangements in place locally involving Cayman health professionals regional partners and agencies.
Premier McLaughlin and Min. Seymour assured that the Cayman Islands were well-prepared to respond to the coronavirus situation and government has been meeting with business stakeholders and the community.
A special cabinet meeting is scheduled for Friday at which further decisions will be made regarding measures to be put in place considering the prospect of any economic implications, especially for small businesses and the cruise tourism sector.
Hon. Premier said “drastic and radical” steps will have to be considered to address all likelihoods should the situation warrant it.
These could range from restricting public gatherings, flexible sick leave arrangements, and possible mortgage payments concessions.
However, he stressed that these are “planning for worst-case scenarios with the hope that we don’t get there.”
Supplies are said to be adequate and there’s no need for panic, both Premier McLaughlin and Min. Seymour said.
The public is reminded to take all necessary precautions against contracting the coronavirus.
The risk can be reduced by implementing personal protective measures, such as frequent hand washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses.